Azure - _King of Stars - Bearer of Dark_
(Deathgasm, 2006)
by: T. DePalma (5 out of 10)
A sword and sorcery album that sketches the perennial concept of the Hero's fall through minor chord harmonies, paper thin screams and urgent drum fills with a hint of theatrical rock / metal in the riffing and lead work. Azure (Swe) was founded by two permanent members, but shares this present offering with members of Nocturnal Rites and Embracing. Although the music doesn't have the pacing or evocative thread of a multi-part narrative, the style here successfully reflects the imagery provided, recalling classic heavy metal themes interwoven with epic black metal like Enslaved and symphonic elements that play a brief supporting role but could have been used to help the transition between tracks. Their vocalist is limited, and perhaps this explains why the full parameters of this concept are not exercised through the music (the booklet fills in as much as it can). Dynamics are uneven or unspectacular throughout and the final track features an excruciating acoustic performance that eclipses the second half. It's tolerable, but it won't win over those not already invested in the genre.


(article published 15/7/2006)

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