It doesn´t happen every day, that you receive a CD from Downunder, or, in that case, New Zealand. This is my first contact with the Death Metal squad from Auckland, that has been around since 1997, having released three full-length albums since then. "Relentless" being the third one after roughly four years since "Sedition". Seems as if they´re quite well known in NZ, since back in September 2009 they had been openers for Slayer, Megadeth and for two of their major influences Chimaira and Suffocation.
"Relentless" kicks off with the instrumental "The Art Of Seduction - I Engine Of Virility" already introducing Dawn Of Azazels precise riff massaker and rolling out an atmospheric carpet, paving the way for things to come. The precise riffs continue in "The Art Of Seduction - II Ravishment", where also Rigel Walshe´s kinda scratchy, evil sounding vocals start, along with some, at times dissonant chords, that help creating a layer of hate and supporting the overall atmosphere pretty well (clearly that kind of atmosphere, that makes others, who are not familiar with Metal, feel quite uncomfortable). When having a look at the booklet (see, that´s one of the reasons, why a complete CD will always be better than MP3 dowloading....) I spotted a Gojira shirt, that one of the members is wearing. The good thing is, that he´s not only wearing it, but some heavily stomping, technical tendencies and influences of that very band can also be found on the record. So Dawn Of Azazel definitely create some madness on their record, that would make fans of the above mentioned band, Meshuggah and the like, drool. However, fans of the "not-so-technical" Metal still have no reason to forgo this CD, despite technical tendencies. Already after a short while of listening, it becomes pretty clear, that "Relentless" turns out to be a very dense and tight record. Lots of strong songs like "Majesty", which is, like the title already says, quite a majestic track or the brutal "Fornication Revelation". They also show, that they´re able to write short songs around the 2 or 3 mins mark, as well as a track breaking the 6 or even 8 minute mark ("Liquor And Lust"). This track has everything from slow passages, fastforward riffing, technical parts, groove etc. This mixture makes this whole song appear way shorter than it actually is, well done!
Good thing, that I didn´t judge this band right away from the cover, cause that doesn´t do justice to the band´s sound or the quality of songs in general at all: two half nacked women, some evil looking beast, skulls, all in comic style - you get the picture - kinda silly looking in a way, but who cares, when you hear the songs. Long story short: Check them out!