I’m not the world’s biggest fan of old school death metal revival (although I’m not adverse to it) so it takes some sort of hook to reel me into an album. The cover art, the members involved, a recommendation from someone in my inner circle; all of these work. But another great way to get my attention is through a concept and thus enter Azath. Their name already screams their concept out loud, since it is the name of the mysterious and central race in the Malazan Book of the Fallen, the most epic and moodiest of all moody, epic fantasy series of books. I love those books dearly, having read literally everything set in that world so I was naturally stoked to see titles like “Knight of Chains” or “Worm of Autumn” not to mention the name of the album, Through a Warren of Shadows.
But beyond just the concept, it helps that the music also rocks. Azath make a style of dense, fuzzy and overwhelming death metal, like the greats of old. Checking out the self-titled track is probably the way to go; “Through a Warren of Shadows” has everything which makes Azath great, namely great drum tone, crunchy guitars, and deep, visceral gutturals to go along with them. It also has excellent bass which, even though it isn’t really prominent in the mix, does some great work in the background in fleshing out the track and adding a lot of dynamism and excitement to it. It does this as the other instruments are going full tilt, shedding some light on the sound’s textures.
Put this all together, and repeat it across the entire album, and you get yourself quite a vicious release. There are more ambient sections, and even some on the track we discussed above, but overall, Azath go and they go hard. If you’re hankering for riffs and plenty of them, Through a Warren of Shadows has plenty of those for you. And hey, if you like the lyrics, maybe check out the books? The base series is only three and a half million words (it really is).