“ Artist: Azuth / Genre: Hard Rock & Metal / Release Year: 2007 „
This is the first, privately funded release from Ukrainian black metal musician Saurus, who follows in the footsteps of many successful one-man-bands in the field that run the risk of ending up as a completely impenetrable, self-indulgent disaster due to the lack of exterior input, or a work of inspired genius that would only have been lessened by involving other players, most notably Burzum, Windir and the later works of Bathory. But of course, there are some like this that are merely pretty good, but have such an incredible atmosphere that I hold them in a similar regard, the type of atmosphere that can only be achieved through a severely low budget.
Azuth is classed as ambient black metal, which is sort of true but also a lazy way of attempting to categorise what would be more accurately (and less understandably) described as a mixture of mountain/victory black metal and philosophical black metal, two terms I find it helpful to apply to Windir and Burzum respectively, but that are, if anything, even dumber than the more official stance. Starting off rather ambient and minimal and featuring a nicely shoddy sample of a battle complete with bugle, galloping horses, the clash of steel against steel and bad acting, the first real "music" begins half-way through the title track as a chiming bell, distorted vocals, tribal drums and roaring guitar fuzz attempt to lead us nostalgically through past worlds, and even though it doesn't really work it's a very pretty song, if you're as strange as me.
'Hidden' is where the black metal performance really begins, after what some may consider (rightfully) far too much introductory material, and the steady drums and satisfying crunch of the guitar riffs sets the tone for the rest of the album, which is never particularly fast or oppressive in the style of typical black metal. 'Ancient Forest' adds to this atmosphere excellently with some great lead guitar work that's obviously amateurish but still sounds great here, especially with the distinctive tone granted by the low production values, and the folk elements and scary organ intro again remind of a poor man's Windir and Burzum. 'Under the Moon' sees Saurus' vocals take on a distinctive rasp for the first time, modulated to a whisper in what I presume is his native tongue in the more melodic and tranquil '...to Nonexistence,' and the shifting style continues for each subsequent song: 'Black Spring Waters' bears similarities to industrial metal in the style of Nine Inch Nails, 'Last Hero' returns to black metal and goes even further by attempting to invent a new, unique style of growl that sounds both horrifying and silly at the same time (it's probably pretty successful then), and the finale is predictably slow and pleasant by comparison.
While the demo-like quality could put some listeners off, especially flaws such as the abrupt silences at the end of tracks and movements, it only adds to the novelty for me, and although this isn't fit to join the ranks of the late, great or otherwise incarcerated black metal one-man-projects. Each song is overlong by about a minute, and although there's great variety, none of it's truly spectacular, enjoyable as I found the experience.
Best of all, it's free and legal to download from http://azuth.jino-net.ru/Discography.htm so there's an opportunity for you to enter my realm, and it provides proof that I'm not just making these obscure bands up.
1. Spirit of the Dead
2. Old Times
4. Ancient Forest
5. Under the Moon
6. ...to Nonexistence
7. Black Spring Waters
8. Last Hero
9. Her Light Steps