Azrael Into the Shadows Act II: Through Horned Shadows Glimpse

A logical complement to its precursor, last year’s Into the Shadows Act I: Denial, Azrael’s latest is another avant-garde black metal soundscape. Despite their experimentation, Azrael work on a foundation of traditional black metal techniques, many of their long (and apparently title-less) songs offering a reverb-drenched wash of razor-like guitars, deathly screeches, and plenty of blast beats. Then, subtly incorporated into the extremities of metal, the unanticipated flavours begin to rise — like the acoustic guitars and strings woven alongside the album’s brutality. The added elements themselves aren’t that unique — coming from classical, jazz, ambient, prog, rock — it’s more the way Azrael uses them that makes their music so disturbingly effective. (Moribund)