Fourteen years after their last effort Ghost Conversations, Illinois progressive metal trio Aziola Cry return with their third album The Ironic Divide on Sensory Records. Jason Blake (Warr Guitar), Mike Milaniak (guitar), and Tommy Murray (drums) have crafted four epic tracks here on The Ironic Divide, kicking off with the menacing "And Cowards", a near 10-minute journey into complex and harrowing progressive metal, thick with muscular guitar & Warr riffage and Murray's intricate drumming. Think an instrumental Fates Warning, though perhaps a tad darker and more space left for soloing, and you won't be far off the mark. Blake's intoxicating Warr guitar textures kick off the dreamy "Hollow Reflections", a slow builder of a song that eventually morphs into almost djent styled rhythmic blasts, while the 21-minute beast that is the title track contains four parts and all sorts of musical mayhem. One minute it's wild complex prog-metal, the next the band blast out into deep dark space, Murray's drumming a complete joy throughout, with no shortage of crushing riffs and dark King Crimson inspired guitar explorations. Final track "Scars Now Rest Where Once Bore Wings" might be the darkest and heaviest piece on The Ironic Divide, Blake's acrobatic Warr guitar leaving plenty of space for Milaniak's crushing riffs and sizzling solos. It's a song that leaves ample room for all three players to shine, but that can truly be said for the entire album.
Some might actually argue that Aziola Cry leave enough space in these songs where vocals might have even fit in just fine, and you can almost sense by the writing of The Ironic Divide that perhaps we might see some of that in the future for this band. For now though, this is one hot instrumental slab of prog-metal...welcome back guys!
And Cowards 09:36
Hollow Reflections 06:38
The Ironic Divide: 21:05
II. A Torment Of Reason
III. Distort Persona
IV. One Final Collapse
Scars Now Rest Where Once Bore Wings 12:28