Review By Ali Blackdiamond
Album: A Hymn Of The Vicious Monster
Release Date: 15th June 2014
Record Label: Xtreem Music
2. Chapter I: Self-Inflected
3. Chapter II: Eridanus Supervoid
4. Chapter III: Encapsulated Delusion
5. Chapter IV: Gyrocompass
Persian progressive death metallers AZOOMA were formed in 2004 in Iran. Guitarist Ahmad Tokallou and bassist Farid Shariat were looking to create something new – a metal band, but one that was influenced by their Persian culture. Farid‘s brother Saaed joined as drummer and the line-up was completed with the addition of vocalist Shahin Vaqfipour.
Due to the laws on metal music in Iran, the band cannot play shows there, but did perform at the 2013 Persian Metal Festival which took place in the Republic of Georgia,Tbilisi. AZOOMA worked on material for their album throughout 2012 and ’13, which then resulted in the birth of “A Hymn Of The Vicious Monster”. The album is a concept one and was mixed and mastered by Ehsan Imani and released via Spanish label Xtreem Music. Now let’s talk about the music!
“A Hymn Of The Vicious Monster” you might think at first glance is a short EP with only four main tracks, but actually they are all longer than average, resulting in a 36 minute epic offering, which definitely does not miss any substance.
The introduction to the album or ‘Preface’ begins in a soft and gentle style, with some classical style acoustic guitar along with Persian influences, leading you to what you know will come, then all of a sudden BOOM! We’re into the first full track, ‘Chapter I: Self Inflected’. Beginning with speedy riffing guitar, then the full on growling vocals kick in like a punch in the guts. The first thing I noticed is how tight and professional sounding the band are, with extremely proficient technical playing – solid fast drumming backing up the guitars, with their complex changes and solos, full of intensity and a nice sharp finish!
‘Chapter II: Eridanus Supervoid’ is a full mental onslaught from the first second, conjuring up a picture in my mind of a sea of crowd surfing and moshing fans. Shahin’s vocals are top class killer growls, blending perfectly with the music and yet more technical guitar work is demonstrated, especially in the middle section of the song, which turns very progressive and slows down before changing pace entirely. I particularly enjoyed the guitar solo on this track and the clean vocals by Ahmad are a great addition. This album is no average one, it has many different layers throughout and I discover new elements during each listen.
Starting by clearly demonstrating Saeed’s skills hammering away on the twin bass pedal, next track ‘Chapter III: Encapsulated Delusion’ builds into yet another song full of metal energy, these guys take new twists and turns regularly to keep the listener on their toes. The precision of Ahmad’s fretwork along with Farid’s killer bass riffs, combined with the already mentioned drumming and vocals, result in the ultimate death metal listening experience.
The longest track on the EP at 10.37, ‘Chapter IV: Gyrocompass’ is the last but most definitely not least full song on the album. The progressive elements are prevalent here, adding to the overall atmosphere of the song, which as in all the other tracks really demonstrates how cohesive AZOOMA are as a unit. Again a surprise with a slower change in pace three quarters of the way through the song, with some additional Middle Eastern sounds, complimenting the heaviness extremely well.
And so to the end with ‘Appendix’. A very fitting close to the album; this time with spoken vocals and again the softness of the music with Persian tones. I love the ending, turning the page to close the story, or maybe just this chapter and I really look forward to the next one.
To sum up, if you haven’t yet heard AZOOMA‘s music, and you’re a fan of death metal that has lots to offer, these guys are a must in your collection. The band are extremely professional musicians which shines through on “A Hymn Of The Vicious Monster”. They deserve much success with this first EP and I look forward to seeing AZOOMA moving onwards and upwards in the metal music world.