AZOTHYST – Blood of Dead God (2021)REVIEW

A twenty minute downward-flowing roar of bestial death metal rupture and mildly cutting dissonance, this debut EP from Ontario, Canada-based project Azothyst speaks to the darkest traditions of blackened death music without twisting the eldest martial forms anywhere near their breaking point. ‘Blood of Dead God‘ is brilliant for its presentation and illuminant qualities, an immediate and brutally contained black hole of a mood generated by a proficient and captivating permutation. Achieved with fairly repetitive use of technique the greater effect of this ~20 minute pulsation deals in venomous and gut-loosed tension, a stunning sickness which should earn quick fealty with most face value extremists. The lasting impact of the release is somewhat averaged by a lack of accessible distinction between pieces but for a debut statement the thrill of discovery and alignment will be enough to convince and entertain most arcane and distempered death metal fans.

The first of a few assumptions we’ll have to make is that Azothyst formed sometime before 2021 between members of Sortilegia, Adversarial, and Nuclearhammer. Based on their resumes and the relational forms shared between some of these bands the greater Canadian black/death metal underground of the last two decades is the best general sphere to whittle down when envisioning the species on offer within ‘Blood of Dead God’. The obvious comparisons are yet an incomplete picture, though, as we consider the brutality of Axis of Advance‘s rhythmic map, the smoke-warped blackened death of Rites of Thy Degringolade and, though it might seem like a stretch, the brutal declarative attack of the second Sacramentary Abolishment album. That isn’t to say we couldn’t look to more obvious fonts of black/death precedence or the post-‘Paracletus’ age of dissonant death metal for the bigger picture but rather that we can see Azothyst as a product of folks who’ve established themselves within elite Canadian black and death metal pantheon and arrive with a familiar sense of rhythmic arrangement and, more importantly, attack.

The opening riffs to “Bestial Blood Temple of Ritual Predation” sold me on this EP on the first listen but by the tenth spin through ‘Blood of Dead God’ I’d retracted some of that initial enthusiasm. This isn’t an unusual phenomenon itself, most thrills are fleeting within well-established heavy metal ecosystems, yet the part of my brain that ultimately says “So what?” couldn’t find any cure for this draining sensation within the riffs and rhythms available. Tremolo heavy dissonance at 90’s Angelcorpse speeds, inverted bestial attacks delivered with great precision, and even some staggered slow-blasts on “Graveless Mass” you’d think this record has more than enough to impress a rube like me but it’d appear the void left behind is more important than the spectacle of the death-vacuum itself. That hollow feeling could prove signature enough.

Fantastic art direction, a render of obsidian depth which still hails some sharp precision in its capture, and plenty of actual riffs to cling onto, there is no question that Azothyst have some massive potential on display with the exception of two buffer/filler pieces: “Fanes at the Engur” and the unimaginative chain dragging of “The Dead Reek of the Abyss Beyond”. In terms of any actual criticism of composition and performance, the experience lacks clear enough points of transgression and lands lawfully self-similar and sub-genre standard throughout. That said, the high standards here are obviate and the sensation of movement is impressive. A moderately high recommendation.

Moderately high recommendation. (75/100)

Rating: 7.5 out of 10.
TITLE:Blood of Dead God
LABEL(S):Vault of Dried Bones
RELEASE DATE:October 1st, 2021
BUY & LISTEN:Bandcamp
GENRE(S):Death Metal,
Black/Death Metal

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