Dawn of Azazel - Relentless - (9.5/10)
Published on October 13, 2009
What a find.
New Zealand’s Dawn of Azazel is the type of death metal band that gives me hope. They’re a band that gives me faith when everything, all the wolfpacks and clusterfucks of today’s scrapheap metal junkyard churn out the same ole with the same ole.
With little to no publicity and a lack of invaluable touring sunlight, these three Kiwis, on their third full-length album, Relentless, have managed to construct an album that is as wonderfully aggressive as it is unforgettable.
Relentless is exactly that.
The album begins with an instrumental opener that sets the scene for what is to follow, enhance, and sonically obliterate. The parts of the band – bass and vocals by Rigel Walshe (a law-enforcing police officer by trade), guitar by Joe Bonnett, drums via Jeremy Suckling – collide and fuse into a snarling, rabid beast.
In the world of genre tags, the consensus style(s) of Dawn of Azazel appears to be blackened thrash/death metal, which is pretty spot-on, but one can’t ignore the grind and progressive elements. Strictly speaking, the music on Relentless is an assault on all of the weak shit that bands attempt to pass off as heavy music.
Like all great albums do–and this is no short record at a shade under an hour long—Relentless demands several listens. Not because it’s overly complicated or difficult to interpret or too deep. Nope, it’s because it’s a fucking sick record with insane riffery, plenty of dynamics, and it hooks you like a gateway narcotic.
Walshe’s vocals, a mix between a hardcore drill-sergeant roars and black metal cries, are unstoppable, and the lyrics, for corny assholes like me, couldn’t be any better or more empowering. Bonnett’s axe-work is creative as all hell, groovy as fuck, and demented in that zombie laboratory progressive metal way only bad-ass guitar players can emulate. Suckling’s drums are some of the best and most intense you’re going to hear in whatever country, time zone, or shithole you live in. The guy is inexorable on the kit. A true beat-keeping monster.
I’ve been listening to this album non-stop (relentlessly) for the past two weeks. I’m listening to it now. I’m going to press play tomorrow. The music is so fucking hardo, so goddamn full of angst and power and everything that pissed-off cynical fucks like me love to headbang to.
If you haven’t heard of these guys before, all I can say is you’re welcome.