Artist :: Sons of Azrael
Album :: The Conjuration of Vengeance
Label :: Metal Blade
Play this cut first :: The Wrath
In a word :: Bombastic
I’ve got to admit, right out of the gates, I didn’t hold much hope for this disc. The sheer blast of speed and cacophonic vocal shrieks have been done to death. I understand wanting to kick things off with a high energy track, but the opener, “Trail of Flesh” is pretty much a toss away. Same for the second track, “Scent of a Dead Whore”.
Then, from nowhere comes “The Wrath”. The twin leads a la Iron Maiden are interspersed with wicked syncopated riffs and a flow into traditional thrash metal riffage. The guitars are in lock step with the double kick rolls. And just like that, Sons of Azrael went from some wash of sonic blastcore to a very well-honed metalpiece.
The next two cuts, “Mortal Human Form” and “Sweet Blasphemy” follow suit, relying more on the progression of harmonic riffing and half-time drum breaks than speed alone. As a result, the speed sounds faster because of the dynamic comparison. The half time riffs are saturated in potential energy. And the sense of momentum in each cut just snowballs. And that’s good, because the vocals are well, not so good.
Now I’m not new to the genre. I’m just tired of shrieks and growls. It really works against the trained precision of what the rest of the band is pulling off. And the lyrics are even more sophomoric. These sly devil lyrics have been spit over and over again. “End of the Rope” are vocals at their worst. I’ll stop before I get too far. Vocalist, Joe Siracuse is in good with The Dark Lord (gives him a shout out in the liner notes, even.) Even the newest of the godmetal brigade see the power in a little bit if subtlety to convey a message. Still, extreme metal has never been the place for subtlety, so why start now?
So I guess I’ve got mixed reactions with The Conjuration of Vengeance. At times, I want to throw my fist up and scream “Oh, Dark Lord come take my now!” Other times, I simply shake my head and think, “Oh, lord….” So do yourself a favor and check out the Sons of Azrael myspace page for some previews. Judge for yourself. Be warned: it’s gonna be loud. And I kind of like that.
Best cuts on the album :: “The Wrath”, “Sweet Blasphemy”, and “Mortal Human Form”
The bottom line :: This album is really dripping with the energy that keeps extreme metal alive. The riffage is powerful and ambitious. The cuts that don’t vary from the pure speed too much could have been omitted and the album may have been better for it because, when it’s good , it’s really good. And when it’s bad, it’s pretty easily forgettable.