These days, a black metal enthusiast who doesn't have any Scandinavian bands in his or her collection is sort of like a blues lover who doesn't listen to any artists from Chicago or a gangsta rap fan who ignores MCs from the West Coast. In other words, Scandinavia has become so important to black metal -- so dominant of the death metal/black metal field in general -- that any serious black metal collection is bound to be full of Nordic bands. Nonetheless, there are many noteworthy black metallers in other parts of Europe, and there are some in the United States -- Kult Ov Azazel, for example. Clearly, these Americans favor the harsher and nastier side of black metal; The World, the Flesh and the Devil is one album that will never be mistaken for symphonic black metal, an ambitious style that combines black metal elements with the melodic intricacy of power metal and even progressive rock in some cases. Some of the bands that are considered symphonic black metal can honestly claim Pink Floyd and Yes as influences, but Kult Ov Azazel are the exact opposite -- their non-symphonic approach to black metal thrives on merciless bombast and is unapologetically blistering. Instead of keyboards and elaborate arrangements, Kult Ov Azazel serves up 36 minutes of vicious sensory assault. This type of approach, of course, has its limitations -- and as far as the harsher side of black metal goes, The World, the Flesh and the Devil isn't in a class with the best albums that Marduk and Dark Funeral have to offer. Still, the album isn't bad -- and for the kids in the mosh pit who believe that sensory assault is its own reward, The World, the Flesh and the Devil offers a noteworthy, if uneven, dose of black metal bombast.
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AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson