Friday, February 7, 2014

Alghazanth: The Three-Faced Pilgrim (2013)

This cover reminds me of Black Swan.  I don't really know how to feel about that.  On the one hand that movie bored the crap out of me, on the other hand Mila Kunis and Natalie Portman lesbian scene.  So there's that.  But really, Black Swan has nothing to do with black metal, at least I don't think it does.  So this album cover does not really seem to match Alghazanth's sound.  But that wouldn't be the first time an album cover was deceptive.

Alghazanth is another of those bands who have been around for quite a long time, yet their existence has completely alluded me.  The Finnish black metallers formed in 1995 and have released seven full-length albums now.  But since Finland has not been the site of any big black metal scenes, Alghazanth has flown under the radar for quite some time.

Alghazanth pepper their Second Wave Norwegian-style black metal with symphonic flourishes, lengthy and progressive song structures, haunting melodic interludes, and some surprisingly impressive musicianship.  The songs are all epic-length, but the band really does a terrific job at composition because the songs do not really drag.  The mention of "symphonic flourishes" probably caused some people to envision bad Dimmu Borgir moments, but that is pretty far from reality.  Yes there are moments, but they do not overwhelm the song and they are more there as complementary elements.

I was pleasantly surprised with this one.  Alghazanth is not reinventing anything here and they do not do anything a bunch of other bands have done, but the music is effective and interesting to listen to.  Sometimes that is enough.

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