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Hostile music for the libertine to savour - 84%

Drequon, December 23rd, 2014

New Zealand may not be known as one of the most thriving scenes in metal, but the country sure have a fair amount of heavy music to offer. Dawn of Azazel is one of the strongest groups still active there, and their personal brand of death/thrash is quite well regarded by the most dedicated fans of the two genres. "Relentless" is their third (and most recent to date) CD, and the trio of Rigel Walshe (V/B), Joe Bonnett (G) and Jeremy Suckling (D) sure know how to write some intense, abrasive music.

There's a sensible metalcore feel in places, with a lot of groovy, 'fat' riffing going on, while songs like "Liquor and Lust" sound to my ears almost like Gojira, which is quite a compliment in my book. On the other hand, Rigel Walshe's voice strongly resembles Rob Urbinati from Sacrifice, and the many time signature and tempo changes are always there to reassure us about the trio's thrashy pedigree. The lyrics are quite interesting too, dealing with the ultimate futility of living and the many different chemical, mental and carnal vices a person can indulge in - an uncomfortable lyrical stance perhaps, but one that makes a very adequate match with the musical contents. "Relentless" is a good name for this CD by the way: the songs are violent and intense, and the atmosphere is undeniably hostile throughout.

My personal highlights would be "Perseverance", "Majesty" (with a nightmarish main riff that sticks to your mind like a bad dream), "Sinew, Sin, Discipline", "Overcome it All" and the (pun intended) relentless attack of "Fornication Revelation", perhaps the most typical death metal assault to be heard around here. But the whole of the album is strong as hell, so rest assured your ears will have a lot of extreme music to savour. The band spent a few years dormant after releasing this album, but it seems they are active once again and preparing songs for a new CD. I really hope they do so, as "Relentless" is a more than worthy inclusion to the collection of anyone who enjoys the most brutal branches of the heavy metal tree.