Review Summary: More than just manic drumming
Azararath is a band known mainly for its drummer, Inferno, who has also been the Behemoth drummer since 1998. While this may be the case, saying that Azarath is “that other band with Inferno as the drummer” is doing them a massive disservice. It’s true that the drums are the focal point of the band, however, the other instruments and vocals are worthy of praise. For Infernal Blasting
, Azarath had matured as a band compared to their debut, Demon Seed
, and it shows.
Being as Inferno is the main reason people know of this band, it could reasonably assumed that the drumming would be of high quality. Just going by the name Infernal Blasting
a listener can expect to be greeted with relentless and lightning fast drumming. Inferno doles out enough speed and aggression on the drums to satisfy even the most hardened fans of black and death metal. While many albums with drumming this quick rely solely on speed, the drumming on Infernal Blasting
changes surprisingly often. No pattern is held for too long over the course of a song, this keeps the drumming from becoming fatiguing or repetitive. The playing itself is stellar, each note is played with uncanny precision and is a testament to the drumming prowess of Inferno.
The guitars are an entirely different story. While the drums usually exist to back up the guitars on a metal album, it’s almost as if the roles have been reversed for Infernal Blasting
. That's not to say the guitar work by “Bart” isn’t able to stand on its own. There's a multitude of riffs to be heard throughout each song. While the guitar work isn’t especially inventive or groundbreaking, it is imbued with blistering speed at times and occasionally slows down on tracks like “Nuclear Revelation” and album closer “Born To Rot”. Blackened death metal riffing is executed skillfully and with great care. The solos are played extremely quickly and break up the usual high speed of Infernal Blasting
by going even faster.
As far as vocals go, they're an unintelligible growl. Not that the lyrics are particularly deep or insightful. The overall lyrics are what can be found on most black metal albums; typical black metal themes like killing Jesus, praising Satan, and sodomy. The vocals are quicker than most other bands and, as a result, they enhance the sense of speed brought about by the rest of the album, benefiting the band’s sound greatly,
Unfortunately, the bass guitar isn't as spectacular as the rest of the performances on Infernal Blasting
. The bass rarely ekes it’s way into the rest of the mix. For the majority of the album, the bass is buried under the vocals and other instruments. Performed by vocalist “Bruno”, the bass work is nothing special, but it serves its purpose and backs up the guitar playing. When the vocals are added into the mix, there is no possibility to hear the bass at all. The bass would be nice to hear, but the album succeeds without it.
Production-wise, Infernal Blasting
is well done. Where their first album Demon Seed
had a thin and tinny production, this album actually has thick, yet clear production. The guitars are satisfying and have a full presence in the mix, while the drums can be clearly heard. Aside from the bass, each note can be easily made out, even when all instruments and the vocals are going at the same time. The guitars sound dirty enough to keep the blackened death metal sound, but clean enough to make out what is being played. While similarities have already been drawn between Behemoth and Azarath thanks to Inferno, the engineer for Infernal Blasting
was the same one that had worked on Behemoth’s albums at the time. This means that those familiar with Behemoth’s early death metal albums will know what to expect from the sound of this album.
At the end of the day, Infernal Blasting
does exactly what it set out to do: create insanely quick and evil music. There isn’t anything progressive or particularly innovative about this album, but the music is performed exceptionally well and is unashamedly brutal. Rarely is an album this relentless. Fans of both black and death metal should check this out, if just for the intensity and aggression alone.