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Azure Agony: India

A few months back I commented in a review that surely there must be more people releasing prog-metal albums these days than there are actually buying the things. Since then the ever increasing bands and albums that come thick and fast in a Dream Theater style have done nothing to prove me wrong....

So the second album, India, from Italy's Azure Agony and their first with a vocalist - definitely a good move - could be viewed in one of two ways. Either you'll think this album contains all the usual traits - blistering guitar solos, chaotic keyboard breaks, soaring singing and thunderous drums - and adds nothing new to a genre already bursting at the seams with releases in exactly the same style. Or you'll marvel at the undoubted technical mastery this quintet display at every twisting turn, as they weave melody and rhythm together in fine, dextrous style. Really the decision is yours....

To fill in the blanks AA'a singer Federico Ahrens, does eschew the more obvious Labrie-isms we've come to expect, arriving more as a cross between Geddy Lee and Denis DeYoung, allowing a more theatrical delivery to introduce drama to proceedings. Add to that a rare ability to bring a bit more bite to the prog-metal themes and Ahrens really is a bit of a find. Musically, yes the mighty DT are never too far out of ear-shot, but then neither are Rush (especially in the keyboards) or indeed through the manner in which those keys mesh with the melodic riffs, Threshold - making for another couple of plus points. The album's title track offers up a more restrained approach from the ever expected gallop, proving that when the bombast is reined in, it is easier to sound a little more individual in this setting. Running at around the ten minute mark it is both this album's longest and most captivating track. However in the main, "Twin Babel", "Private Fears" and "A Man That No Longer Is" excite to the same value as they don't. Stunning musicianship and tight arrangements never quite overcoming the undeniable feeling of being here countless times before.

As a first outing with a singer who definitely has enough character and ability to raise Azure Agony above the norm, India hopefully is only the beginning of this extremely talented group forging their own path. On that, only time will tell...

Track Listing
1. Twin Babel
2. Private Fears
3. Libra's Fall
4. My Last Time On Earth
5. India
6. Hold My hand
7. A Man The No Longer Is
8. Forever Blind

Added: February 1st 2013
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Azure Agony MySpace
Hits: 2987
Language: english

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