AZARATH
"Praise the Beast"

(Deathgasm)

01. Summoning
02. I Hate Your Kind
03. Sacrifice of Blood
04. Invocation
05. Praise the Beast
06. Queen of the Sabbath
07. Azazel
08. Unholy Trinity
09. Obey the Flesh
10. Throne of Skulls
11. From Beyond the Coldest Star

RATING: 8/10

All the talk has been about BEHEMOTH's position atop the throne of Polish death metal and the attention new album "Evangelion" has been getting, and rightly so. But people should also be talking about AZARATH's "Praise the Beast", an album that will not receive near the international attention, yet I'd give it the nod over their countrymen's latest effort (let the shit fly). What we can agree on is that both bands share a spectacular drummer (Inferno), both write blasphemous death metal and memorable songs, and both deserve to be considered among the Polish death metal elite, which by definition should equate to the world death metal elite.

You might as well buy both albums, so let's ditch the comparisons for the time being, except to note that "Praise the Beast" delivers like a demonic mutation of KRISIUN and BEHEMOTH with shades of IMMOLATION (Bruno's vocals are something along the lines of Nergal crossed with Ross Dolan). Great riffs, great drumming, and sacrilegious shout outs to the horned one that are adrenaline pumped and peppy in a ritualistic sort of way. To name just a handful of the multitude of nefarious anthems, "I Hate your Kind" grinds, swirls, and harmonically pinches — the guitar accents and tones are noteworthy across the entire album — when it isn't churning and boiling during tempo downshifts. The KRISIUN feel in the way that Inferno's whirlwind percussion tears off roofs is brought to the fore on "Sacrifice of Blood" (complete with a spine-tingling shout section of "Hail Lucifer! Hail Beelzebub! Hail Astaroth!), while the title track features BEHEMOTH structuring with an IMMOLATION chill factor. Really though, there isn't a bummer in the bunch; these are just the tracks that really leap out and knock you out cold, whereas others may only leave you woozy and disoriented.

The album unwraps to reveal a bevy of wicked riffs, six-string textures (by the way, check out "Invocation"), and percussive might. "Praise the Beast" is quality Polish death metal. Deathgasm did well to snatch up these heathens for distribution to the North American masses before anyone else did.

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