New Jersey pioneers in the American Black Metal movement ABAZAGORATH return from years of hiatus with The Satanic Verses which is available now via Eternal Death Records; arguably their darkest, blasphemous release to date pushing the boundaries of extreme music and rivaling their domestic counterparts. It seems with the passing of time it becomes increasingly difficult to find groups that stick true to their selected genre while adding aesthetically pleasing elements to the fold, but that’s not an issue with these guys. I may not be an expert in the field, but this is real deal Black Metal!
Upon first listen, I immediately notice the sickening blast beats that are captured perfectly along with every other aspect of the percussion. It’s always best when you can hear that real drum sound and minor imperfections as opposed to programmed drums. Warhead provides the thunderous roar from behind the kit while also delivering varied screams and deep tormented vocals associated with old school Black Metal. This is clearly evident on “Mahound” and “The Angel Gabriel” while the nine minute title track delves into the haunting depths of the underworld pushing the extremes to the limit.
Acoustic guitars are used sparingly on this release but “Ayesha” is a solid instrumental of solely acoustic bliss with profound chord choices that leads directly into “Visions of Azrael” which is one of my personal favorites and most relentless tracks including that deep MAYHEM-like vocal style in the middle. The production is superb without getting anywhere near the overboard point; the guitar and bass tones are dialed in appropriately to capture that classic grim atmosphere that exudes in this genre. A good example is found on the other nine minute journey “Return to Jahilia” which has a live feel.
Now for the tracks that got extra repeated plays, especially while I was at work. “Revelation” being the shortest song at 1:44 hooked me in with the sheer brutality and extra nasty vocals. “A City Visible But Unseen” is an instrumental where Aversario shines by getting the opening licks on the bass and the slight distortion accents the line well; Ciemnosc shows off some impressive fret board work here as well as on “Conclusion” with ripping solos and rapid fire riffing. My absolute favorite cut is “Gharaniq” which almost seems like it doesn’t belong on this album, not to say that in a bad way, but when I first heard it on shuffle mode it caught me off guard because it’s more in the style of Black ‘n’ Roll.
The Satanic Verses stays within the boundaries of traditional Black Metal without becoming repetitious and also keeps things interesting by adding a little flavor to the mix. I highly recommend this album for fans of all extreme music. It’s very listenable yet brutal and horrendous. ABAZAGORATH have gained a new fan in me, so give this a spin and hear for yourself!
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Revelation”, “A City Visible but Unseen”, “Gharaniq”, “Conclusion”
WRITTEN BY JOR-EL