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Azazello: Transformation

Whilst there is an elaborate, if hard to follow, biography of Russian Symphonic Power metal act Azazello on their website, discovering hard, fast facts on this band has proved resolutely elusive. So to get straight to it, as far as I can decipher Transformation is the fifth album to come from a band who have played everything from Thrash to Death Metal on their way to their current, and convincing Power Metal output. The band themselves are made up of Alexander Kulak on vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards and percussion, Vladimir Kulak on keyboards, Vladimir Demakov on drums, Vladislav Chala on bass and Yann Zhenchack who covers vocals, keyboards, violin and guitars, although there are also a number of guests who add their contributions to this surprisingly intricate and well presented album.

As you would expect the lyrics are sung in Russian, not something which bothers me, however if non English language albums are troublesome for you, then Azazello will prove to be a gigantic step too far, as Russian is not the easiest tongue with which to become acquainted. Musically however the mixture of brash riffs, string infused passages, heartfelt ballads and melodic themes (which at times can verge into cheesy Eurovision territory) is engaging and individual, if slightly twee and niche in places. Eclecticism is the name of the game here, with the likes of "Light Of The Lonely Eyes" covering everything from Power Metal, to AOR via Russian melody lines in its rather frantic six minutes. However the songs are never confused and the likes of "To Win" which offers up an Iron Maiden inspired blast of Prog Metal come NWOBHM, actually highlights an incredibly gifted set of musicians with the ability to arrange their songs in a particularly engaging manner. Also impressive are the full throated, yet crystal clear gang vocals, which veer from Operatic to intentionally shambolic. Alexander proves to be a very engaging vocalist with a wide range and numerous styles of delivery, allowing him to move from the sweet, smooth sections to the full on Metal assaults with ease. The heavier side of Azazello really comes to the fore with the likes of "Clock Face", which while still Progressive, hits home with a mighty smack, although the short quirky keyboards and vocals of "Melancholy" and the Vangelis like intro "The Spark Of Life", show just how varied this album can be.

Transformation is an aptly titles album, as following the twists and turns of music on it can prove a breathless, if ultimately enjoyable task. Some ideas do seem to be thrown in more to see what will happen, than because the songs really actually need them, but there is simply too much of interest here to allow Azazello to be dismissed.

Track Listing
1. Искра жизни / The Spark of Life
2. Луна / The Moon
3. Циферблат / Clock Face
4. Ворожея / Enchantress
5. Побеждать / To Win
6. Меланхолия / Melancholy
7. Песчинка / A Sand Grain
8. Феникс / Phoenix
9. Свет любимых глаз / Light of the Lonely Eyes
10. Преображение / Transformation (

Added: December 7th 2011
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Azazello Official Web Site
Hits: 2189
Language: english

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