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Abazagorath: Abazagorath
Black Metal
No Visible Scars Records
February 27th, 2012
Release length: 22:57
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Abazagorath is another underground US Black Metal band that formed in Wayne, New Jersey back in 1995. Since then, they have issued various splits and EP releases throughout the years, but only two full-length efforts. Tenebrarum Cadent Exsurgemus was issued in 1997, then the follow-up a good roughly seven years later titled Sacraments of the Final Atrocity. With no new album really in sight, the group returns with yet another EP simply titled Abazagorath, being issued through NoVisible Scars. But, does this act manage to keep the spirit of Black Metal alive, or is this anxiously awaited in certain circles new effort a waste of time?

Surprisingly, Abazagorath is a pretty solid and high quality recording, clearly utilizing a digital approach instead of the raw norm of today that gives it a crisp and even sleek darkened atmosphere. The echoing vocals are your typical higher pitched rasp with a venomous enthusiasm that suits the material perfectly despite the music not quite being as energetic in return. The guitars have a nice sharpness that still has a good deal of clarity to them that works in favor of the melody being incorporated. Unfortunately, they can be drowned out by the drums. The bass kick has a loud click behind it with pounding thicker snares that often tread towards blast beat territory, but never really cross the line. The cymbals come through a little less vibrant than the rest of the kit, and sometimes it’s hard to tell if they are ringing out with a natural sound, or if there is some wash out due to compression thanks to the levels. The bass guitar also does a good job of backing up the leads. Sadly that’s about all it does, but it does it well, especially in the guitar solos.

The EP clocks in at just under twenty three minutes, which is just enough time for the group to get their point across, and offer a good amount of variety as well. “Conjuring” makes an interesting early Black Metal introduction that starts out with some acoustic guitars against a violin that eventually switches to a catchy mid-pace approach with a rather light sound, establishing the style of Black Metal the listener should expect well. This immediately hammers into “The Antigod,” a Norwegian Black Metal inspired atmospheric offering with pounding bass kicks and cymbals at a moderately faster pace while haunting melodic chords fill up the background. The environment is at it’s best during the slower leads than anything else, while the drumming continues to hammer away at faster, but not blasting speeds. Much of this from both tracks ends up in “Storms of Destruction.” This longer closing track finds some deep feedback from the guitars setting up an ominous tone behind the haunting, further distorted chords that sound much sharper, making up the first minute and fifteen seconds before going back into the melodic riffs of Norwegian inspired Black Metal once more. Unlike “The Antigod,” the faster drumming sounds a lot better here and well suited to what the stringed instruments are playing, and the bridges that slow their pace down really become the most infectious elements, easily causing the listener’s head to bang along amid the rather gothic darkness.

Both of those main songs are well executed aside some drumming on “The Antigod” that seems to be faulted only by volume, showing some nice diversity between them. However, there still becomes the constant of melodic verses that seem to abruptly shift to more aggressive drumming and slightly increased speeds. “Lapse” has a similar structure, but utilizes the more intense sections a little less, focusing on slower main verses and bridges that aren’t anything too inspiring, but do usher in a cold, even melancholic sound with vocals that come off a bit distant to give things more of a ghastly appeal. The shift between this track and “Immortals” actually is pretty impressive. “Lapse” ends with a sudden conclusion, and when the next track fires up with a slowly fading in held guitar chord, it causes the transition to make the two sound as if only one song. Unfortunately, “Immortals” is nothing really that new or varied. In fact, it ends up coming off like “The Antigod” and “Storms of Destruction” in both sound, pace, and even pattern to the foundation. Of course this isn’t bad, but it may start to wear on the listener a bit.

But, even with that said, Abazagorath still makes for a solid entry into the US Black Metal underground. The production here is best fitting to acts like Emperor with a solid aggressive, yet melody-infused performance that feeds on the atmosphere it weaves so well. It’s easy to understand why the group would have such a strong and loyal fanbase, but far less understanding as to why they aren’t really as well known as the countless underground raw and depressive acts that litter the cryptic unholy grounds. Clearly another underrated band lurking in the shadows, Abazagorath issue a strong performance with their self-titled EP, and while it may not be one of the most impressive examples of the style out there, or even their potential, fans of Black Metal will definitely find themselves coming back time and again after the first few initials spins, even if you start to feel as though you’re done with it, or just want to hear something else for a change. Abazagorath is well worth taking the time to experience, and anyone claiming to be well versed in the style and/or it’s underground legions at this point should not pass up the opportunity to learn more about them, and what this EP has to offer.

01. Conjuring – 1:49
02. The Antigod – 5:25
03. Lapse – 4:23
04. Immortals – 4:59
05. Storms of Destruction – 6:22
Overall Score: 8/10


Digital review copy of this release provided by NoVisible Scars.
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