Progressive Chaotic Frenzy
Hailing from New Zealand, these pioneers of metal have graced us with a fourth album, The Tides of Damocles. A long wait to be sure, as their last album, Relentless, dropped in 2009. After a hiatus, there is always a concern of a band losing their proverbial edge. Safe to say, Dawn of Azazel made the edge when it comes to metal not just in New Zealand, but in modern metal charts, raising the bar for metal bands and fans alike. From start to finish, the album puts forth all the intense energy and adrenaline oozing bad-assery that some of us have been waiting for all year.
Darker, thicker, and heavier than most albums this year has seen, Dawn of Azazel really brings their A-game to the table. Rigel Walshe’s intelligent, on-point lyricism and vocals blast through the instrumental assaults. His growling could only be described as a larynologist’s next case study, as how he maintains his gritty growling without being unintelligible is brilliant.
The musicians themselves are a feat in speed, militaristic repetition, and off-kilter, intriguing guitar licks. For example, “Irresistible Foe” features a strong rhythm section and a guitar line that sounds slightly off, but right at home amid the quick double kick and snare rolls. Later in the same song, there is a mini guitar solo section that neither distracts from the song nor cuts away from the talent of the guitarist. Most tracks, like “Tarnished Gold,” start off with sludgy and murky guitars before tossing the pit into a rhythmic and chaotic frenzy. The song fluctuates tempo, density, and emotion six times, closing out the album with guitars sounding akin to the titular Tides of Damocles.
When it comes to those of us who need, nay, deserve a serious, ridiculously awesome metal album this year, wait no longer, for our ship has finally sailed in.