Finnish black metal has some well-known names, bands that most black metal fans can recall as examples of essential listing. Beherit and Impaled Nazarene are of course the two most prominent acts, with a few others being mentioned here and there. Likewise, symphonic black metal has a handful of standouts as well, from the mainstream crossover giants in Dimmu Borgir and Cradle of Filth, to lesser-known but still well-loved bands like Arcturus and Limbonic Art. At the intersection of these two categories is Jyväskylä’s Alghazanth, who will release their final album, Eight Coffin Nails, on March 31 of this year.
On albums like 2013’s The Three Faced Pilgrim and especially 2008’s Wreath of Thevetat, Alghazanth manages an excellent balance between the raw sounds of the Norwegian second wave and just enough production value to give the music the extra boost it needs to fulfill its theatrical destiny. Some of the writing is actually more akin to folk or pagan metal, but with black metal’s air of evil still present to forestall any kitschy flights of fancy.
Unfortunately, I hadn’t heard of this band until the release of The Devil’s Cradle, which tells the story of Finnish black metal, and it turns out they’re leaving the northern darkness behind for good after this album. So check out “Facing the North” below and be sure to dive into the aforementioned albums, as well as the excellent AdraMelekTaus EP. If you like Second Spell-era Gehenna but want a sound more akin to Dark Fortress, welcome to your new (very cold) home.