So nearly everyone by now is under complete understanding that KULT OV AZAZEL play to the tune of Black Metal that is extremely fast, brutal and far from the symphonic side of the sub-genre. “The World, The Flesh & The Devil” conforms to this style wholeheartedly but has a sense of identity which separates itself from the previous material. This Florida outfit has made some great strides in diversifying their onslaught and providing solid melodies as the foundation for solid compositions (funny how that works huh?). I have to preface this review by admitting that this album has taken me a bit by surprise and has impressed me to a degree, for KOA have established themselves as a force to be reckoned with and it would be in your best interest to heed this warning.
I just need to get this out of the way: oh how I hate repetitive drumming (there are a few exceptions). Hammer pounds away on his kit with no remorse and is able to keep time at immense speeds but that does not make him any less boring. A couple of fills are thrown about but nothing very promising; luckily this obstacle is overcome with adversity in the guitar department. Both Xaphan and VJS burn through beautiful melodic lines buried in frenzied distortion with ease and offer a pallet of variety throughout the entirety of the release which is quite refreshing. I more than half-expected the musicianship to become swollen and die off half-way through my first listen but that thankfully did not happen. Instead, the tracks manage to continually flow consistently and even give breaks into certain insightful mid-tempo passages (“Trampling The Cross”) which are quite enjoyable. There is even a bit of a bass solo during “Blood, Death & Damnation” which is completely unexpected and definitely adds a simplistic touch of ingenuity to the track. All of these elements combine to form this powerful experience which transcended any expectation I could have formed. The variety of strong melody is the greatest weapon this outfit possesses and the strongest element of the aforementioned combination. Improving upon this basic formula is the key to KOA’s future success and making the leap from “solid” to “great”.
The rhythmic assault is complimented by Xul’s vocal assault which consists of a croaky Black Metal snarl in the vein of middle MUTIILATION. While not altogether earth-shattering the vocal delivery is solid and conducive to the style at hand. The mix also compliments this performance and allows the music to breathe and certain elements not to smother others. This is particularly evident in the drum department where the intense blasting does not overshadow the guitarists. As I mentioned earlier, bassist Xul is heard in passing but making out the individual bass-lines throughout the release can become somewhat tedious, which has become of course expected in Black Metal releases for better or worse.
“The World, The Flesh & The Devil” is a solid U.S. Black Metal release which deserves to be listened to. The album features good melody which may be somewhat derivative and formulaic but the band manages to make it their own and that is what counts. This is much better than previous work including harnessing a sense of unique aggression which will distance them from similar acts and could include a somewhat bright future as the band is approaching the mandatory listening stage. I will recommend this one as long as you can put up with constant double-bass intermingling with great melodic guitar-work. (Online January 15, 2006)