Although many people still seem to discount the US Black Metal scene, the Americans have proven time and time again that they can play just as well as some of the more notable European bands and KULT OV AZAZEL are no exception. Like many of their country-mates, KULT OF AZAZEL shares a mixture of Scandinavian influences that help make up their sound, the two most recognizable being SETHERIAL and “Panzer Division Marduk” era MARDUK.
There’s more to that then meets the eye though. While KULT OF AZAZEL can be ferocious and filled with blast beats, they don’t take it to the excess that MARDUK did, they slow things down, they let the music breath. Not taking it to the extremes MARDUK did, however, still allows them to blast away for good periods of time and it can seem as if they’re stuck on a single path for a period of time, but eventually they slow things down slightly.
Similarly, while there can be quite a bit of melodic tremolo riffing, but again, not to the excess SETHERIAL does it. No track really deviates from this formula, but the song writing throughout is strong enough to sustain such a thing over the course of the 40-minute playing time. The two influences mesh together well, resulting in one of the better breakneck Black Metal albums.
With the effective blend of speed, slight melody and savage vocals, KULT OV AZAZEL’s debut is a raging inferno waiting to peel the skin off your face. (Online February 11, 2004)