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Azure Emote - The Third Perspective CD (album) cover


Azure Emote

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

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siLLy puPPy
PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
4 stars There are some bands that are just too weird, too wild and too outside the box of orthodoxies for the mainstream to even consider as producing viable music for consumption and despite the extremities of metal music, many metalheads are the most conservative of all finding a niche or two that they like and not deviating from within their boundaries or at least not very far. That means bands like Philadelphia's AZURE EMOTE that while being based in extreme death metal but mixes in all kinds of non-metal elements such as electronica, progressive rock and even ethnic influences. just doesn't jive well with many except for those like myself who happen to be nerdy enough to delve into every aspect of musical expression that exists. Oh well, it's a lonely room but bands like AZURE EMOTE that take these nosedives into bizarre experimental places that few dare go make nerdism all worth while.

While this project led by multi-instrumentalist Mike Hrubovcak may not get a lot of love, his involvement with "real" metal projects that include Hypoxia, Monstrosity, Vile, Nader Sadek, Divine Rapture, Abraxas, Rumpelstilskin and XXX Maniak have, well at least his vocal performances on the California based brutal tech death metal band Vile have! This side project that consists of Hrubovcak on vocals, flute, maracas, straw, harmonica, keyboard, samples, electronics, drum programming along with drummer Mike Heller (Disembowel, Fear Factory, Malignancy, Success Will Write Apocalypse Across The Sky, System Divide, World Under Blood, Zillah) and fellow Rumpelstiltskin Grinder guitarist / bassist Ryan Moll has been missing in action since 2013's "The Gravity Of Impermanence" and with such a title may have given the impression that this fringe project was a flash in the pan with no more to give.

Emerging from the crypts the project that hosted eleven musicians on "Gravity" returns as a mere trio in 2020 with the third album aptly titled THE THIRD PERSPECTIVE. The most immediate noticeable difference is that this one is a much more focused affair as the project's first two albums were all over the place navigating the truly unexplored nooks and crannies between death metal, IDM, progressive rock and pretty much any other bizarre detour that Hrubovcak fancied to partake in. While using death metal as the canvas to paint upon, THE THIRD PERSPECTIVE manages to focus on tighter rhythms, more accessible styles of riffing and although the electronics and progressive rock elements are still in full regalia, they have been demoted to be the decorative artistic extras for the death metal basics with some occasional doom metal sounds for contrast. The jazz elements that were prevalent on "Gravity" such as the saxophone have been completely eliminated but there are still plenty of uses for the violin and electronic effects.

THE THIRD PERSPECTIVE delivers six tracks with two, "Dark Realms" and "Solitary Striving" racing past the ten minute mark with the latter closing track providing some of the most non-metal elements as the album pretty much sticks to the death metal playbook and using all the accoutrements as a nice psychedelic supplement with atmospheric extras. "Solitary Striving" is probably the most focused single track that this band has ever done. It begins with some electronic swirls, a female vocalist evoking tribal ritualistic vocal utterances with thick cloud covers of atmosphere and some recited poetry by Hrubovcek before breaking into the death metal routine but the track remains somewhere in between symphonic metal and melodic death metal and the key word for THE THIRD PERSPECTIVE is melodic. This is by far the most accessible album of the three. While "Chronicles Of An Aging Mammal" and "The Gravity Of Impermanence" were designed to alienate, this one clearly wishes to invite others to the party.

While more commercial in nature, AZURE EMOTE delivers another interesting slice of avant-garde metal based in death metal guitar riffs, growly vocals and blastbeats and channels the adventurous live wire keys, flute, violin and other instruments to craft an atmospheric counterpoint rather than a brume of cacophonous noise. Personally i love the first two albums for the extreme boldness of taking death metal into unthinkable territories but i find THE THIRD PERSPECTIVE to work on a completely different level and that one is a more orthodox delivery of the death metal aspects while the atmospheric and prog rock elements expanding the musical conversation. On the metal side of the equation, these guys deliver the expected chops with excellent technically infused metal bombast whereas on the atmospheric side envelop the compositions with moody surreal ambience and psychedelic detachment. Looks like no end in sight for this project and despite the more accessible approach this time around, AZURE EMOTE manages to craft an interestingly unique style of experimental metal.

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Posted Saturday, March 14, 2020 | Review Permalink

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