Black Funeral never interested me, but after seeing the possibility to get this CD for free, I thought I could give it a go. Az-i-Dahak is Black Funeral’s fifth full-length, and the band (fronted by Michael Ford also known for his occult literature) has been active since 1993, so it was about time to get acquainted with the band.
Az-i-Dahak carries a strong concept, which is not a surprise from a writer. Basically the album is about Persian Sorcery and Black Magic, as the booklet says. It is always nice to see black metal albums with more meaningful lyrics. Musically, Az-i-Dahak is really strange. Vocals and the overall black and white aesthetics are probably the only things that make this album go under the category black metal. Az-i-Dahak is more industrial music to my ears than even metal: programmed drums, weird effects, and a guitar sound that doesn’t really even sound like a guitar. So don’t expect any basic power chord riffs here. It certainly is a sort of accomplishment to get a guitar sound like some different instrument.
I am not sure could I endure this kind of weirdness for a long time, but luckily the album is only 33 minutes long, which is a good time for an album like Az-i-Dahak. I’m all for experimental music, but sometimes the cheap drum machine sounds even a bit humorous. On the other hand, Az-i-Dahak is nothing bad, actually the music is really interesting and the whole concept is fresh. The haunting instrumental title track ”Az-i-Dahak (Awake)” and also ”Astovihad” belong to the highlights of the album, and why not also the texturally rich outro ”The Fallen Arise”.
So, all in all this is a decent record. Fans of industrial-influenced black metal could get more out of this, perhaps fans of Blut Aus Nord? Az-i-Dahak wasn’t a bad obtaining, and I need to check out more of this band’s albums later. Apparently there is a new full-length coming in 2010 so that will be a definite checkup.