Azure Emote - _The Gravity of Impermanence_
(Selfmadegod Records, 2013)
by: Aly Hassab El Naby (8 out of 10)
"Avant-garde metal" is a term that gets loosely tossed around without much people caring for its meaning. It appears around the bands that come up with odd music that strays so far from the norms of metal that they can't even be labeled as "progressive". Allow me then to delve a little bit into the meaning of the expression "avant-garde". I remember a few years ago my friend Omran explaining the term as a derivation from French that meant at the front guard which means pushing the limits all the way to the front. Such a definition was definitely enough for me to understand the expression, but what exactly does avant-garde metal sound like?

Well, here we have a claim for avant-gardism that came through our regretfully under-explored promos bin as a label for Azure Emote's second album _The Gravity of Impermanence_. Azure Emote is the artistic outlet for Mr. Mike Hrubovcak, where he has enough space to do a lot more than vocals. You may have heard him barking at the mic on Vile's 2011 effort _Metamorphosis_ and on Monstrosity's outstanding _Spiritual Apocalypse_ from 2007. These are two examples of his many projects but Azure Emote is where he handles the steering wheel. _The Gravity of Impermanence_ is the sophomore album that comes about six years after the debut _Chronicles of an Aging Mammal_.

It is certainly a death metal album that's laced with many surprises. The violin comes in at various points like for example the elegant section in the second half of "Carpe Diem" or the beginning of "Veils of Looming Despair" while the saxophone and female vocals find some space on "The Living Spiral" to complement the harsh growls. Technically speaking, Mike Heller, who serves as the current Fear Factory drummer, has put together a highly commendable performance over this album's one hour duration. The dexterous cymbal use on "Conduit of Atrophy", the machine gun blasts on "Obsessive Time Directive" and the first few seconds of "The Color of Blood" tell you what kind of drummer this fellow is; sounds like Fear Factory should keep him on the drum throne for some time.

The riffing also boasts ample integrity and keeps the album's standard quite high. So many guitar variations occur over the album's lifetime and they always have sturdy support right at their heels. This dense style of composition could prove to be an obstacle on the way to enjoying _The Gravity of Impermanence_, because there's just too much to wrap one's head around; but this exact characteristic has proven in many occasions to be a sign of great albums. As with many high end metal albums, this one demands multiple spins so it can gradually reveal itself. The intricate layers of instrumentation interspersed through these fourteen tracks pile up on a base of beefy death metal riffs and a hoarse throat to create a rather surprising death metal record that deserves a more frequent slot in many people's rotation.


(article published 8/6/2013)

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