Azaghal - Helvetin Yhdeksan Puria (The Nine Circles of Hell)

Posted on Saturday, September 04, 2010

I’ve heard a lot of people singing the praises of this Finnish Black Metal trio and honestly, I can’t really see why. Yes, they’re pretty good but not as good as the stuff I’ve heard about them. I think the thing that really gets me down about this album is the one-dimensionality of the drumming and the thin-as-only-Black-Metal-can-get guitar sound. And that drum tone… I think I’ve heard trashcans that sound better than their snare drum. The good news is that though there are problems in the sound production department, the music is a bit more adventurous than your average clone-‘throne band. There are acoustic guitars on occasion and the inclusion of different vocal styles (Black Metal shrieks mixed with Death growls and variations on the standard Black Metal screaming) on a couple songs and they really help push this up a bit. Unfortunately, they still can’t save this album from the rampant one-dimensionality on display in the drumming and in the songs themselves. On the first listen, I couldn’t tell one song from the next. On the second listen, I still had trouble. The Nine Circles of Hell doesn’t totally suck major donkey dicks but it doesn’t do much to distinguish itself from the thousands and thousands of other releases that are competing for the same dollar.

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