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Azure biography
AZURE is a fantasy themed progressive rock band from Brighton, UK. The project was formed by singer Christopher SAMPSON in 2015 while studying music in Brighton, after being inspired by the vast spectrum of exciting genres in the City's art scene. Here, Sampson became close friends with lead guitarist Galen STAPLEY, who first joined the project as a guest soloist on the 2015 debut EP 'Dreaming Of) Azure'. The two quickly paired up as a permanent team, leading to the 2017 album 'Wish For Spring', solidifying the quintessential sound of the band. After 'Wish For Spring' was released, the pair spent a year away from Azure while working on a separate project, before returning their focus to Azure. This heralded the single-song EP 'Redtail', a 20-minute fantasy epic about a creature exclusive to the Azure mythos. The band then began work on a brand new LP, while undergoing some line-up changes, and finding their feet back in the UK Progressive scene. During this period, a new album was written and recorded, featuring Bella LEE on bass and Sam CALDER on the drums. Two more years passed, while Azure refined their new recordings, teaming up with Gareth MASON and Jonas JOHANSSON for the final mix of their brand new album, 'Of Brine And Angel's Beaks'. They prepared for a 2021 release, breaking their 2 year silence with standalone single 'Mistress' (featuring new bassist Alex MILES), before embarking on an eclectic singles campaign for the new record.

The music on the last album delivers a complex mix of prog rock with metal and 80's synth.

Bio by black _diamond

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AZURE discography

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AZURE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 4 ratings
Wish for Spring
3.86 | 36 ratings
Of Brine and Angels Beaks

AZURE Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

AZURE Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

AZURE Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

AZURE Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

5.00 | 1 ratings
(Dreaming of) Azure
4.00 | 3 ratings
4.00 | 2 ratings

AZURE Reviews

Showing last 10 reviews only
 Of Brine and Angels Beaks by AZURE album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.86 | 36 ratings

Of Brine and Angels Beaks
Azure Heavy Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

3 stars AZURE is one of the many new prog bands that has sprung forth in the second decade of the 21st century with ties to the prog of yore but adding new twists and turns that place it firmly in the category of modern prog. Having formed in Brighton, England in 2015, AZURE has released two albums thus far starting with 2017's "Wish For Spring" and now in 2021 its sophomore release OF BRINE AND ANGEL'S BEAKS. Also a couple EPs have seen the light of day as well. Despite its huge sound this band is only a quartet consisting of Chris Sampson (vocals, synthesizer, guitar, programming), Galen Stapley (guitar), Brandon Midlane (bass) and Sam Calder (drums).

This band has a rather strange sound. It's not that it has completely invented something completely new but rather in how it has taken ingredients from myriad influences and created an entirely new recipe of heavy guitar oriented prog. OF BRINE AND ANGEL'S BEAKS is an hour plus excursion into a heavy yet happy style of prog where "Red" era King Crimson angularities are met with 21st century progressive metal energetic deliveries. The music reminds me most of The Mars Volta's earliest offerings although i can't say that AZURE has mastered the compositional fortitude for it to be in the same league.

With twelve tracks, OF BRINE AND ANGEL'S BEAKS sparkles with a blue-ribbon production job where the instrumentation sparkles with rich tones, timbres and sound textures that firmly place it in the modern world. Compositionally speaking the tracks are rife with major chords delivering a heavy prog version of Sweden's Moon Safari in that everything comes off as so cheerful. The hardest pill to swallow for me is the overwrought vocal style of Chris Sampson. Sounding somewhat like a mix of Mars Volta's Cedric Bixler-Zavala and Haken's Ross Jennings, his style can also come off as a sort of power metal vocalist only under the influence of happy pills.

This is a very synth-rich album and although heavy guitar outbursts add a welcome contrast to the overall style, the album is more akin to those prog metal bands that love to add syrupy ballad styles to their composiitons and AZURE takes it to oft saccharine levels. In some ways, Dream Theater comparisons could be made especially in the slower earnest passages where the vocals sort of sing off tune from the musical backing. The album has an air of indie rock and indie pop aspects to it as well as it is, well quirky for the lack of a better term. While the comps flow smoothly also do they sound like the proggy time signatures and such are forced which IMHO interferes with the melodic flow. It's almost as if the band wants to show their avant-prog heft only in the context of a melodic symphonic prog band resulting in a somewhat stilted effect.

While not considered neo-prog, this album does evoke many a neo-prog journey with extra sugary pop hooks and overwrought vocals tugging or attempting to evoke every emotive response however it does sound a bit forced much of the time and the band would have done better by making sure the compositional fortitude was the underpinning element with the other elements augmenting it rather than whizzing around in unpredictable manners. While i can't put my finger on it, there is a fine line between amazing avant-prog and more melodic brands of progressive rock but if they're not juggled carefully they seem to collapse in an unsatisfying heap of sound. When it comes down to it this probably just does't suit my sensibilities since many do like this strange mix of heavy prog bombast mixed with airy fairy whiny vocal led prog. Hardly a bad album but not one that floats my boat either. Musically this album has moments for sure.

 Of Brine and Angels Beaks by AZURE album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.86 | 36 ratings

Of Brine and Angels Beaks
Azure Heavy Prog

Review by Cylli Kat (0fficial)

5 stars A bold, fresh & unique approach to fantasy styled Prog.

If you're expecting something like 70's styled Symphonic or Heavy Prog fare here, you might be in for a bit of a shock.

This is a thoroughly modern take on fantasy/sci-fi fueled prog. What you will find on Of Brine and Angel's Beaks is hyper streamlined, aggressive, guitar heavy (with absolutely unearthly chops from both Galen Stapley and Chris Sampson) Heavy Prog leaning into Progressive Metal with a touch of Symphonic and some Eclectic Prog elements.

Don't let that description scare you off; these songs are complicated but at the same time incredibly accessible with a nod (to my ears) in the direction of A.C.T, Native Construct, the freneticism of Thank You Scientist and for some reason, some parts remind me just a touch of the band Jellyfish.

It's quite a lot to sort through, as this is my first foray into the world(s) of Azure, but it has been worth absolutely every moment invested. This music is incredibly dense with layers both subtle and bold, lyrically and musically. The compositions are both adventurous and at the same time concise with the virtuosity of each of these musicians surrendering to each work as a whole. Sometimes serious, expansive and dramatic, sometimes playful, sometimes tender, there is so much to be found here.

Inspired compositions, absolutely stellar playing all the way 'round and the range (both pitch and emotion) of Chris' voice make this collection of songs an absolute standout in any arena and a Masterwork/Masterpiece *****5 star (here at progarchives) for ol' Cylli.

As always, your mileage may vary.

Grace and peace, Cylli (Jim)

 Of Brine and Angels Beaks by AZURE album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.86 | 36 ratings

Of Brine and Angels Beaks
Azure Heavy Prog

Review by daisy1

5 stars One of the best releases of the year so far from this British Band.The album is so melodic and diverse,it's hard to find comparisons,but a little Dream Theater,some Queen influences,and certainly Swedish Band A.C.T. For vocals and arrangements - a good thing! The A.C.T. Comparison can be heard in Self-Cruxifixion -a brilliant track following the beautiful introductory track. Track 3 is certainly a highlight for me - love to see this performed on stage - a lovely synth intro,and the track weaves in and out of all influences,but the vocals of Chris Sampson are truly extraordinary. Track 4 Jester would be a rousing opener or great encore.Track 5 is also a highlight for me -again many changes of direction and would make a brilliant remix. Side 2 also has many highlights - Mercy and Ameotoko 11-Cloudburst being particularly symphonic.Overall,terrific production,incredible vocals and a significant release for 2021
 Redtail by AZURE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2018
4.00 | 3 ratings

Azure Heavy Prog

Review by foregonillusions

4 stars Originally to be included in Azure's latest (and good!) album, Of Brine and Angels Beaks, Redtail is a musical tale ostensibly about a demon-esque being, destiny, and tragedy. This is a pretty good concept for a twenty minute epic, and it certainly elevates the music by giving it meaning and adding to its emotional impact.

Narrative aside, the instrumental affairs are composed and played well. There's a brief overture that introduces one to a few themes and motifs; The ensuing movements range from catchy melodies to brooding synths to heavy riffs to some delicious solos; Transitions between these sections are congruent; and the thematic pieces introduced in the song's beginning are never forgotten.

The layering and interplay between instruments, specifically the keyboard an guitar, is a highlight: lots of depth and great sounds are forged. Speaking of the keyboard, the sounds used are reminiscent of those fantasy 90s console RPGs, and considering the epic's concept, it's quite fitting. Finally, the vocals are great, and they have the flexibility to mesh well with the softer and harder instrumental passages.

Azure's Redtail, and the rest of their works, is one centered around "fantasy", and everything from the sounds to the story are serve this. The result is fairly unique, and one that I recommend.

Update 1: Fixed some typos.

Update 2: Rewrote the review in its entirety.

 Of Brine and Angels Beaks by AZURE album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.86 | 36 ratings

Of Brine and Angels Beaks
Azure Heavy Prog

Review by Rivertree
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator / Band Submissions

4 stars Be prepared, around one hour of amazing modern styled prog! Almost too much at once to handle this. Don't have noticed these excellent musicians beforehand, it was about time now and yet. Five young chaps coming from United Kingdom's Brighton, with their sophomore offer out in 2021. What a spectacular one! Biodiversity in music terms one can say, where this is deriving from an obvious heavy progressive rock fundament overall. Chris Sampson pulls the strings here, he's dealing with vocals and guitars, the latter alongside with Galen Stapley. Hence flexibility is guaranteed, including the option to comfortably combine both the acoustic and electric variant when it comes to further live gigs. The album songs already are delivering an energetic performance in general, can't imagine how this is working from the stage.

Two short kick-off tracks immediately are revealing some trademarks, extravagance, the trickiness of the compositions, fantasy styled lyrics, expressive vocals, some crunchy metal guitar thrills aso aso ... The melodic epic Ameotoko I - The Curse, the explosive The Jester Who Cheated Death or the Queen inspired Lustre: Siphon Of Umbra are leaving nothing to be desired. The psychedelic tinged and more mellow parts, just to name the beautiful Mercy for example, are reminding me of US band Temple Garden a bit. The album title track in the same way, melancholic, touching. A greatly arranged album, don't miss that, prog fan! 4.5 stars.

Thanks to rdtprog for the artist addition.

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