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Lacks a certain fascination. - 59%

oneyoudontknow, May 23rd, 2010

(Note: this version of the review is a revised edition of the first version posted at the Metal Archives. Ayyur had a blog on this issue and complained about a certain lack of professionalism on the side of some writers, which found expression through the use of a download and not a tape when it comes to the source of the music. As I have been able [or motivated] to lay my hands on this demo tape very recently, it seems appropriate to rewrite parts of this review now.)

The 3-way split Narcotized may be the release Ayyur was introduced to a wider audience. Being spread by the Swedish label Salute Records, it provided the band with a platform outside of the ordinary small black metal label. Remember, this band is from Tunisia and to see a release from such a region pop-up in a Western distro is not likely to happen on a daily basis.

Anyway, one aspect, when it comes to metal music from smaller scenes, remains a somewhat constant factor: shortcomings in the sound and production; this is especially apparent in certain areas of the world, like Islamic or Muslim ones. The circumstances, under which the artists have to create their ‘dark’ art there, can’t often be covered up by the song-writing or some other ‘fresh’ influences. On the aforementioned 3-way split album already, it had been Ayyur’s part that left a mixed impression; to say the least. Sadly, Agurzil Screams suffers from similar shortcomings and is unable to leave a lasting as well as positive impression.

Well, the basic elements can be summed up as follows: low produced vocals, whose part lingers around somewhere in the back; raw guitars, whose play clearly dominates the music; generally, the riffs are not too bad but come with a bit too much monotonous facets as well as repetition; drums, whose part receives also not the attention they should need; keyboards, whose part stands out positively from the rest of the music but are perceived as being displaced and out of the flow. Agurzil Screams opens quite good actually and this synthesizer/ambient intro attempts to set the stage for some interesting as well as atmospheric piece of dark art, but what follows is simply not able to take this ‘introduction’ further and to keep the listener ‘in it’, in the flow, in anything the band had started with. The raw and slightly noisy style of the guitars in The Heat of Echeyde disrupts e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g. To be frank, it sounds like two different bands wrote/recorded two different tracks and combined these on one album.

Ayyur are no bad song-writer, some ideas on Agurzil Screams are actually quite good. Take the two tracks mentioned at the end of the review; Among The Ruins [Part II & Part III] and The Farewell Glance. The counterpoint by a guitar to the overall melody – created by the raw/noisy guitars again – adds a dreamy and melancholic touch to the music. Yet, such is rather a rare example and the band seems far too comfortable in the ‘pure’ black metal arena, even though their performance in this realm is anything but convincing. Moreover, the band seems be unwilling to decide what type of music they actually want to play. Shall is be father and more straightforward stuff or slightly depressive and therefore slow one? Ayyur meanders through a vast territory but in the current state their performance is simply a bit too messed up to create a lasting impression upon the listener.

To get the sound issues right should be a foremost goal for the band, because the current state of the art makes it hard to really enjoy their music … or to even get it. Raw black metal can be interesting but those balancing issues on Agurzil Screams simply backfire on the band.

Best track:
Among The Ruins [Part II & Part III] and in parts also the succeeding The Farewell Glance.

Note 1:
To clear matters up a bit, Echeyde refers to the volcano Teide on Tenerife and there is a local legend which is explained on Wikipedia in some respect; the other site I had found was in Spanish. Just in case someone was wondering.

Note 2:
The second track comes with jumps, which gives rise to the suspicion of an unprofessional copying of the tape. So much about the ‘superiority’ of this analogue format. Points were reduced due to this of course.