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KULT OV AZAZEL: "The World, The Flesh & The Devil"            

kult ov azazel                      /Crash Music, Inc.    

Recorded and mixed at Mana Studios in Tampa, Florida. Tracked and mixed by Shawn Ohtani. Mastered by Erik Rutan. produced by Kult ov Azazel & Shawn Ohtani.



The World is full of Violence

As Temples burn

An Eternity with Satan

Complelled to die

The Glorification of Evil

Trampling the Cross

Blood, Death & Damnation

The calling forth

Bloodstained Path to Victory


Xaphan - vocals & guitar

Xul - vocals and bass

VJS - guitar & backing vocals

Hammer - drums


      by dalia "gryphon_spirit" di giacomo 


Sworn to evil

Honestly said, as European, it was a surprise to me. A surprise to see how much lively, rigorous and fighting is the Black metal scene in North America. In particular the United States show well determined hordes able to support the cause of Black in an honest and excellent way. Therefore  they deserve the admiration of the European crowd: a very good and enough large audience of Black Metal fans who anyway is  still too attached to  the Norwegian myth and to Symphonic Black metal in general. I admire a lot  the  European BM bands who remain harsh  and true starting from the musical instruments without the excessive use, if not total absence of  keys insertions (which are at times well done, but more often too bombastic and pretentious), but fact is that those bands very often hybridize with  Death and/or Thrash. With Kult ov Azazel from  Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, we have to deal with a genuine music of guitars bass and drumming,  so near to the old school,  but with modern self-consciousness and yes, why not, with that drop of modern catchiness, and however without hybridizations, without compromises, it is really the case to say. Kult ov Azazel are able to provide evolution and refinement in playing  with that typical, not adulterated,  force of underground. Brutality and violence is a main characteristic  of this music, but not the only one. In my opinion, it is the loyal mirror of  a way of thinking and living. Moreover , for  Kult ov Azazel, lyrics follow music, music is the first inspiration. And is an inspiration of great drift. Stability and mood are in balance. It is self- awareness.  Kult ov Azazel is this: Black metal  strictly connected with occult/satanic topics, with no redundant aesthetics, it is a  potent, pitiless harsh  "Metal" , in first place. This album is lethal  like a fatal swarm of insects around you, harsh and compact like a legion, exact and expressive. 


Kult ov Azazel  was formed by Xaphan (also bassist in Hate Plow) , Xul and Von in the "spring equinox of 1999 under the infernal name Azazel". Few changes of line up and much serious work propelled this band a lot, making of it one of the most  important BM groups of America. The brilliant technique in playing and the constant activity were remuneration enough: in relatively few years Kult ov Azazel have delivered 3 full length albums, several splits and MCD's, a collection of tracks, kind of best of (Black Mass Consecration). The bright new "The World, The Flesh & The Devil"  is indeed their third full length, which is a very mature opus full of vigorous aromas and coherence just only beginning from the cover art/ Booklet presentation (by the way, notice the Our Father written in reverse as  cover background, while the booklet is essential but full of good taste and medieval/renaissance flavor). 


Listening to these 9 tracks you really understand that Xaphan and his band- mates spread a message. In my opinion  they don't want to prove anything, and neither they want to create trends, i think. they suggest, they make us think through the musical communication, a communication enhanced and completed by their extreme lyrics of course . In fact, The World, The Flesh & The Devil is extreme but absolutely sincere. The World, The Flesh & The Devil though being  homogeneous, provides also a satisfactory level of variety concerning  pace and soundscape. Could have been  even more varied, maybe this is  the only doubt i have  about this album, for the rest we can only remain enthralled.  If you compare these new tracks with previous and important songs taken  from different moment of their career ("Oculus Infernum" or "Le Messe Noir" for example), you realize that the rage and the aggressive shouted attack  has morphed into a more mature and profound hatred. Evolved but always fierce. The result is  an album of really profane music and vicious vocals, full of abrasive power (just think of the evil vocals indeed  that can only be defined as abradant and totally misanthropic). We European need to face some  inflexible  stuff like this. I warmly suggest  The World, The Flesh & The Devil  to all Black metal devotees, whatever branch of Black they prefer. Though Kult ov Azazel could impact  easier,  just to give an idea,  on  the listeners of Marduk, Gorgoroth, early Immortal, Darkthrone,  and , yes, i would add, in spite some big differences, on  the fans of  Mystic Circle, Belphegor and Ragnarok too .  Those  who support the BM underground and appreciate the true old school are an other target that can appreciate Kult ov Azazel too. 



The World is full of Violence is the vehement opener, a direct kick  in your face but with that flair and catchiness of the golden pioneers of BM. As Temples burn is a fast blasphemous onslaught , an incursion, an assault, a desecration  against all  dogmatic versions of  Monotheism and their religious structures: Allah is swallowed in hell together with Jehovah and  God, "from the Basilicas of Vatican till the churches of America" there is no escape. Musically this is a blast, an eruption of blazing guitars and blowing drums. The clear , tight, unclouded  tremolos are a burst of flame. In the final there is a vigorous pace-down. But let's roar again with the following An Eternity with Satan, more mid tempo oriented  An Eternity with Satan is enough solemn, with a catchy tune, its snare-hits are like echoes of a combat dance. Like the title suggests, the topic is the pact written in blood with the Lords of Hell. The words who attract so much my attention are anyway these ones: "overturning laws of God" , they are more key than one can superficially think. An eternity with Satan, again another very good track, but the following  Compelled to die, with mid tempo vocals and a burning  rhythmic like lava flows, is even better cause  has a big melodic  and sorrowful vein, but a fierce, pitiless  one. Compelled to die is  merciless in his lyrics  and not only for its "you worship life I worship death" -propaganda. In its lyrics there is much more: much of the core  of the ideology. Therefore these lyrics should be read and listened to with the proper awareness.  The Glorification of Evil  is another cruel track, hatred-loaded and very obscure; from the musical point of view is a very fast powerful attack of rage with an uptempo cadenced  ripping refrain  that should appeal  all  Mystic Circle fans. Lyrics are  again very extreme and even too explicit "accept this sacrifice we humbly offer..." Trampling the Cross is my favorite, is much of variation in this album :it is Melodic. Not fast, more obscure, with a lower timbre in the guitars, will appeal the ones who like melodic Black but also melodic Death. Snares are dry and make a contrast with the powerful hyperfast but not blasting and somehow smoothed bass drumming.  Blood death  & damnation spits  renewed brutality and violence : it  is a relentless devastating brutal bloodthirsty assault; the drumming is  implacable like a furious army, while vocals, slower, are a living malediction, a prolonged curse sworn to evil. It requires a lot of energy to be played and is enhanced by a short but memorable bass-guitar arpeggio which clearly divides the song in  two.  The haunting  The calling Forth is a reiterate piece of destruction and war. Violent riffs as a tempest of blood are the protagonists of the last lacerating Bloodstained path to victory, a tempest with no tranquility, which  delivers neck-breaking small but lethal tempo changes.


The World, The Flesh & The Devil is  not only an heretic antireligious, anti -monotheistic  hymn, not only an exaltation of  Evil and the forces of Darkness, wishing the  demise of the weak, it would be  too easy in my opinion. I think that this album is  an accuse for all hypocrite, intolerant, bigoted "sheep" of our society, even an accuse against all the vain  actions of a blind mankind. A certain pulse to a regenerative immortality is also present. The immortality of freedom, the beginning after a total destruction.

The World, the Flesh  & The Devil (cheap curiosity: taking  & as E, anagrammed it becomes The  dishevelled twelfth Hero)  is a musical  vortex of blood and suffocating persistent overpowering strength, which leaves a subtle aftertaste of to say...of pleasure?



rating: 9.3/10  


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