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Azure Emote - The Gravity of Impermanence Review

by Matt Hensch

Azure Emote is the child of Mike Hrubovcak, vocalist of Monstrosity and general death metal alum abroad. The concept of Azure Emote, though, transcends far beyond the usual consciousness of death metal; he formed the band to specifically color up the artistic freedom and creative expression of his bloody habitat. This here, "The Gravity of Impermanence," is the avant-garde death metal project's second release after "Chronicles of an Aging Mammal," which emerged in 2007. The six-year gap was due to Hrubovcak canning the project for other endeavors, but like those of us who crave the colors of chaos, the avant-garde urge had been too strong: he zapped Azure Emote back to life and began work on the second chapter of Azure Emote's schizophrenic biography.

It goes without saying that the strings Azure Emote pulls throughout "The Gravity of Impermanence" are some of the most ambitious and daring themes comprehendible.

Hrubovcak is joined by Mike Heller on drums, returning shredder Ryan Moll, and a cornucopia of unexpected guest musicians and instrument masters. Azure Emote rides a colorful spectrum of bloody lawlessness that forces death metal into a bold frontier of originality, not reliant on blast beats or half-assed Morbid Angel riffs but total artistic supremacy and an embrace of the unexpected. Strange extreme metal has, of course, become somewhat of a conventional practice since the inception of bands like Cynic, Atheist, Unexpect, Sigh and others, but Azure Emote emerges as an anomaly among the anomalies, if that makes sense. Their approach uses the guitar work as a foundation for the experimental themes and instruments, allowing lots of room for whatever insane color they paint the sky with.

The only downside to this formula is the lackluster riffing, which has its moments but generally fails to capture a memorable rotation. Then again, something like this earns its appeal because of the saxophones and keyboards and samples and soprano vocals and frenzied bass work and weird melodies and violins and harmonicas and strange compositions, not the basic grinding of everyday death metal. The production is a perfect example of a wondrous mixing job: the balance of instruments and sounds is more than clear and cohesive despite the army of musical bombs nailing it every second, and Ron Vento did a splendid job leashing this monster. Heller's tight percussion is technical and zesty, while Hrubovcak himself delivers stellar guttural bellows between the musical insanity.

The real meat and potatoes of "The Gravity of Impermanence," though, come from its avant-garde and industrial influences. The female vocals provided by Melissa Koch and Sandra Laureano match the clean and harsh male vocals with incredible power, making tunes like "Carpe Diem" confusing wonders of emotion and bliss. The middle-eastern saxophone solo layered over chugging riffs on the maddening "Obsessive Time Directive" is crazy enough to induce schizophrenia, yet equally enthralling. It's essentially an album built upon samples, keyboards that explore a variety of strange and satisfying sounds, atypical vocal patterns and performances, and a lot of kaleidoscopic differences between each song. However, the total piece appears very comfortable despite its extraordinary circumstances, and Hrubovcak and crew did a fantastic job making these tunes digestible and vibrant.

Dull moments do not exist throughout "The Gravity of Impermanence." If the band is ever lacking in its musical assault, there are enough interesting processes flying around to entertain even the most highbrow stiffs around. Some songs are definitely more flammable than others, yet "The Gravity of Impermanence" stays confident and striking in its display of psychotic death metal, painted by outside influences and not afraid to venture beyond the unknown. Not the best death metal album ever, but certainly one of its most stimulating creations, and the children of Azure Emote are worth experiencing based on that alone. Almost essential for fans of Sigh, Unexpect, The Project Hate MCMXCIX or other creative extreme metal projects.

Azure Emote - The Gravity of Impermanence


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