Full – length album (Selfmadegod Records, April 3rd 2013)
Line – up (2003): Mike Hrubovcak – vocals/keyboards/electronics/samples/harmonica/programming;
Ryan Moll – guitars;
Kelly Conlon – bass (session);
Mike Heller – drums.
Melissa Ferlaak Koch – vocals (tracks 3, 8, 10)
Sandra Laureano – vocals;
J.J. Hrubovcak – second guitar solo (track 5)
Jonah Weingarten – keyboard solos (tracks 1, 7, 12)
Jason Ian – Vaughn Eckert – additional electronic programming (tracks 10, 13, 14)
Pete Johansen – violin, electric violin
Bruce Lamont – saxophone (tracks 8, 9)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania ( ). USA
Better song of the album:
Better feature of the band:
Its capacity to surprise the listener in very different ways.
Cover artwork: Mike Hrubovcak
Lovers of the strange stuff, unite! After their debut album of 6 years ago, the second one of the Azure Emote has arrived! What they have created is really something ambitious, not only for their music but also because this CD has the incredible length of one hour circa per 14 tracks (two of them are non – metal instrumentals, that are the animalist “Sunrise Slaughter” and the industrial “Patholysis”). So, you must prepare very well before listening it because every song hide at least a remarkable surprise.
But what’s the music of the Azure Emote? Do you have in your mind the Cynic? Well done, you’ve got it right, the Azure Emote plays avant-garde death metal, also if the death metal is shelved in some songs, like in “Carpe Diem”, a 7 – minutes’ tour de force with a gothic and dreamful atmosphere. Besides this, the band prefers the mid – tempos, also if they propose at times some blast – beats, while in other cases there are more doom passages, as in the first part of “The Living Spiral”. In brief, the only and constantly death metal element of the music is the vocals of Hrubovcak, a classical and dynamic enough growl complete with (rare) devastating screams.
Curiously, the solos have a good importance in the music but they are the prerogative of instruments unusual for the extreme metal like the violin (protagonist of very long soloist eruptions; in this way, its noisy and closing performance in “Puppet Deities” is memorable) or the keyboards (their arabesques in “Annunaki Illuminati” are their expressive climax). Hence, the solos of electric guitar are very few, and there are also the sax solos!
The nice thing of this album is its incredible variety throughout. So, it ranges from the electronic metal with opera vocals and violins of “Veils of Looming Despair” to the black metal passages of “Dissent”, from the contagious groove of “Destroyer of Suffering” to the very cold and complex “The Colour of Blood”, and still from the soft “Carpe Diem” to the strange melodic death metal of “Conduit of Atrophy”. I must say to prefer the more metal songs, or simply the songs with a more “human” length. By the way, I realized that the first part of the album contains more experimental and very long songs, while the second one has the better songs due also to their more aggressive way than the first tracks.
Another bizarre aspect of the album comes from the songs’ structure, that is often sequencial and not so difficult to memorize, despite the complexity of the music. For example, the band tend to repeat again the same musical solution after few seconds playing it the first time, as in “The Living Spiral”, but so the music appears in a very mechanical way. In other cases, some songs are really prolix, like “Carpe Diem”, that repeats the same things all over the place, and it hasn’t a sufficient wickedness. Instead, songs like “Dissent” (that is a real call to arms at a certain point) and “Epoch of De – Evolution” (an industrial death metal track) have a remarkable wickedness. Besides all this, the band tend to insert here and there in the album some speaking sequences, that can be also pre-recorded.
All in all, “The Gravity of Impermanence” is one of those eccentric album that need to be listened again and again to be really appreciate. In the beginning, I’ve found the Azure Emote as a boring and pretentious band, also because the album’s production is very clean and clear. Then, I’ve understood their logic and their ability to show a good homogeneity, except some sui generis songs like “Carpe Diem”. So, this album is a reasonable experiment, showing also the courage of some artists like Mike Hrubovcak, better known for his militancy in old – school death metal acts like Monstrosity or Vile.
Flavio “Claustrofobia” Adducci
1 – Epoch of De – Evolution/ 2 – Carpe Diem/ 3 – Marching Forth/ 4 – Sunrise Slaughter/ 5 – Conduit of Atrophy/ 6 – Veils of Looming Despair/ 7 – Dissent/ 8 - The Living Spiral/ 9 – Obsessive Time Directive/ 10 – Patholysis/ 11 – Destroyer of Suffering/ 12 – Annunaki Illuminati/ 13 – The Colour of Blood/ 14 – Puppet Deities