Alghazanth

Wreath of Thevetat

Woodcut Records 2008

Alghazanth brings up symphonic black metal from the cold wastelands of Finland.  The opening track, Moving Mountains is a soaring whirlwind of rolling keyboards and fast black metal riffing that is not unlike a happy medium of Emperor and Enthrone era Dimmu Borigir.  The Phosphorescent unites thicker guitar chords with starry skied keyboards movements for a composition filled with drama and atmosphere.  Goat Tormentor's vocals regularly remind me of Jon Nodveidt as they are sharp like a razor.  On Blackening Soil the tempo is slowed and the keyboards rise up for a more prominent role as the song concentrates on atmosphere over aggressiveness.  A nice introduction of acoustic guitar during the song's mid section injects a small dose of sadness and is a harbinger to an explosion of blasting black metal.  Future Made Flesh's initial stage rumbles along with groove laden riffing while haunting synthesizers float like ghosts above the music.  This proceeds to collapse revealing spoken word passages and fragile plinking of the keys.  Alghazanth is precisely what a symphonic black metal fan would want.  Stellar production combined with well written songs which include both violent black metal and symphonic flourishes of synthesizer wizardry.  With that said though, Alghazanth are bringing nothing truly new or original to the style.  Is that a big deal, not necessarily, however since this style usually does nothing for me I end up being somewhat unmoved.  Though I am impressed because Alghazanth avoid the pitfall many of their peers fall into which is to let the keyboards dominate the songs rather than letting the guitars do most of the driving.  This album is better than most Symphonic black metal releases out there but still not monumental.