Released: 2005, Woodcut Records
Reviewer: Gabriel C. Zolman
Similar to Anorexia Nervosa, but not nearly as pretentious, this band is frequently lumped into the Symphonic Black Metal (Dimmu Borgir, Mystic Circle, etc.) category, but really, it is more accurately described as “modern” Black Metal with keyboards. There is a symphonic influence in the songwriting, but the orchestration and keys are less prominent (and more tasteful) than in most bands of this sort. With Alghazanth, the keyboards accentuate the composition—the composition is never built around them.
The frantic guitarwork on “Soulquake” sets the stage; but the album’s true brilliance fails to fully shine through until track #3, “Chaos Attributes.” The keyboards on this track represent the promise that synths once held for Black Metal in the first place—true gothic ambience, as opposed to overwrought, bombastic cheese. It has a chaotic, yet gothic feel.
“Blood Beguiles Phantoms” has a vintage Black Metal feel, reminiscent of some of the old Invasion and No Fashion bands of yore. “Drakomorphos” kicks in with a brutal pummeling, amid a handful of Norwegian-style BM riffing, before leveling off into a series of (quite welcome) Melodic Death harmonies. The band’s ever-present sense of melody and all-around moodiness is perhaps all that betrays its Finnish heritage—otherwise one would swear the band hailed from Sweden or Norway. All in all, it pretty much represents what one thinks of in terms of Scandinavian metal—and represents its brothers well.
There are other highlights here, but lets cut to the chase: if you like melodic death, symphonic or melodic black metal, or Scandinavian black/death in general, this album merits your hard-earned cash; and I don’t take that lightly.
With four albums under their belt—and still little more than a series of pricey catalog listings in the states—Alghazanth are, simply put, one of the most underrated modern Black Metal bands on the planet. They are also one of the best.