On Sunday, January 23rd, 2022, Polish death metal veterans AZARATH, with supporting band KULT MOGIL, hit Klub Hol in Krakow as part of their small regional tour. The show was organized by the local booking agency Left Hand Sounds and was set to start at 20:00.
Right on time, the people gathered to the stage as the lights went dim. The first band was KULT MOGIL from Tarnów formed in 2014. The trio entered the stage and without intros or much fuss, going straight to the point by blasting the audience with roars and a wall of thick sound. KULT MOGIL is Polish for ”cult of graves” and the name truly fits their music style: true, raw, and violent death metal. The band is so underrated, which is mesmerizing, creating their own vision of brutal death metal, combining passion and honesty, totally uncompromising. They performed most of the songs from their latest EP, “Torn Away The Remains of Dasein,” which reeked of pure violence from start to finish, showcasing all the talent and passion for extreme music by lead singer and bassist Deimos. The track that stood out the most was “Hunger of Pride,” as it sounded and felt ominous, disruptive, and violent from the very first second.
After a short break, the headliners appeared on stage dressed in leather with heavy chains around their waist. Lit by devilish red tones, Pomeranian barbarians AZARATH have been constantly and consciously building their brand on the metal map for two decades. The band had several line-up changes during the years, but the founders Inferno (BEHEMOTH) and Bartłomiej “Bart” Szudek (ARMAGEDON) remained unchanged. The era from 2009 to 2017 was led by another known figure in the polish underground scene – Necrosodom (DEUS MORTEM). With the new album, “Saint Desecration,” out in 2020, there was a new man behind the mic – Marcin “Skullripper” Sienkiel, who brought a more sinister approach with deathier blackened growls.
The band roared with thick riffs and effortless intensity as they opened the show with tracks off their old material from “Diabolic Impious Evil” and “Infernal Blasting.” This independent act had a keenness in their sound that allowed them to execute their whirlwinds of black and death influences with precision. “The Slain God” opened with an atmospheric drum/riff combo that would make Deicide take notes. Continuing with “Holy Possession” from the album “Blasphemers’ Maledictions” gave us a breathtaking atmospheric break, the band slowed down as the pace a bit, relying more on dynamic songwriting than the outright and blinding brutality all their previous records were centered upon. Between the songs, Skullripper was interacting with overexcited fans from the first row before announcing the next song. AZARATH continued with tracks “Infested with Sin” and “Doombringer,” with their energy rumbling with catchy guitar hooks and a gripping groove. The stunning highlight of the show was Adam Sierżęga, who substituted for Inferno on drums and gave one hell of a performance. He nailed the technicality, speed, and subtlety in his build-ups, blast-beats, and fills. The one-hour-long setlist was a godless mix of old and new material, being different in the mood, but high on energy and speed, all blending nicely to give the public exactly what they came for. The highlight track was “Beyond the Gates of Burning Ghats” from the latest album, “Saint Desecration,” which tastefully balanced blackened endeavors that feature wild guitar solos and kickass riffs, emphasized by a versatile vocalist. They closed the set with “For Satan My Blood,” flaying listeners’ ears with kickass riffs, dissonant technicality, and stunning performances all around. They did an excellent job of revving the place up and left the stage with the accompaniment of cheers.
Overall the show was good. The booking agency Left Hand Sounds keeps the quality of the underground scene high. All the COVID rules were followed strictly. The sound was overall good. The only problem was the stage lights for some parts.
Written by Alexandra Aim