Dawn of Azazel- Tides of Damocles (Own Label)

Ripping tunes from NZ.
Release Date: 
27 Apr 2015 (All day)

Y’know, I really haven’t given enough credit to our Kiwi neighbours in the past. Perhaps it’s due to the “small countries can’t produce great bands” prejudice that every metal fan needs to slowly unlearn, but I had never realised such a wealth of talent lived there. The obvious gateway drug was the caustic vibes of Ulcerate, but that soon gave way to other contact highs provided by the likes of Beastwars, Diocletian and Bulletbelt. Now, there’s one more band I can add to the list of things I can talk about if I ever meet someone from New Zealand.

For what it’s worth, Dawn of Azazel has existed since 1999, so I am quite late on the uptake on this one. However, there’s no time like the present and Tides of Damocles is quite a nice present indeed. Their brand of death metal is best described by the opening song title on the album, Strike Hard, Strike Fast, Strike Often. Brutal, but not over the top; technical, but not a mess of noodling, this is the kind of death metal that lives or dies by the quality of songwriting. Fortunately, quality songwriting is present here in spades. Tracks like Vassalplasty and Controlled Burn manage to remain memorable amongst all the brutality, the latter of which I challenge you not to sing along to as vocalist Rigel Walshe growls “Let it burn! Let it burn! Let it burn on and on”. There’s a bit of evidence here to suggest that these guys were influenced by bands from across the ditch, as for quite a few moments you’ll have yourself fondly reminiscing of Sceptre of the Ancients

The only real weak point of the album is closer Tarnished Gold, which at 8 and a half minutes is twice as long as every other song appearing here and is anchored by one single, slow moving riff. It’s a really jarring addition and a curious way to end the album. However, at about 48 minutes in length, the rest of the album is extremely well paced, allowing you to sit through it all in one go. The production is also rather crisp and full without being overly loud, making the astounding musicianship stand out.

So, if you’re in the mood for some death metal that’s brutal, technical and rather well written, grab a pav, pull up your feet and give Dawn of Azazel a spin.