Friday, August 28, 2015

(Unearthing the Past I) BLACK FUNERAL - Az-i-Dahak (2004)

Beauty in darkness is one of the vital principles of the metal spirit, and a sentiment that has been present since the beginning. The intensity of extreme metal expanded that romanticism into new dimensions.

Black Funeral from Houston is an ambient-infused black metal band and the brainchild Michael W. Ford (Baron Drakkonian Abaddon) who is also known for writing books on occultism and Luciferianism. Most of their albums are respectable, but only one stands exceptional to the rest; their fifth album, Az-i-Dahak, exemplifies beauty in darkness to a high degree.

Az-i-Dahak is the mechanical drive of a structured ritual, like a Catholic mass in darker spheres. The riffs are chiefly simple and repetitive, reminiscent of Ildjarn but less feral and generate a more unearthly tone. These shadowy melodies are occasionally accompanied by synthesizers and vocal chants producing a dark ambient feel. The atmosphere present on this album is dense and impenetrable, channeling a vision of candle flames shaking in the darkness which briefly illuminate sigils of ancient desert gods scrawled upon the walls of the ritual chamber.

Az-i-Dahak is the absolute zenith of Black Funeral’s work, primarily because of its ambiance and their decision to utilize minimal structure to reflect the mysterious nature of the album. This is certainly the jewel of Black Funeral’s discography. Light some black candles and enjoy.

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