Sons Of Azrael
Scouting The Boneyard
posted on 2/2010 By:
Ready for another lap around the metalcore mulberry bush? I’m sure as fuck not, but here we go anyhow.
Buffalo, NY’s Sons of Azrael have delivered their sophomore album via Metal Blade's Ironclad Recordings imprint, and if you’re familiar with the kind of youngish band that MB’s been making the big bucks off lately, you probably know exactly what to expect from these dudes.
Sons of Azrael are described by their label and their Myspace as a death/thrash band, but that terminology suggests a sound decidedly different from what the band is plugging. Rather, Scouting the Boneyard sounds exactly like The Black Dahlia Murder would if they actually had the ‘core influence that half the metal world is convinced they have—aggressive, melodic death metal with the occasional breakdown thrown in.
Undoubtedly there are some people who are still suckers for this style, and there’s no question that Sons of Azrael are more than competent enough to satisfy them. In a day and age where the only sloppy metal bands are the ones who want to be sloppy, these guys meet and surpass par for musicianship, and the production is sleek and modern without excessive ‘fakeness.’ At the very least, these dudes sound confident, professional, and pissed off.
Scouting the Boneyard has its share of irritating aesthetic features too. Vocalist Joe Siracuse sports an impressively comprehensible growl/shriek combo, which is usually a boon. His lyrics, however, are bizarrely inconsistent. On “Arson and Apathy” he engages in vague but self-serious political ranting, but on the ensuing title track he belts out schlocky gore lyrics about boning corpses, and it’s tough to tell exactly how seriously we’re supposed to take him.
Then there’s the matter of song titles: this album features songs called “The Left-Hand Path” and “Frozen In Time.” No, these songs are not Entombed or Obituary covers. Why not have songs called “Effigy of the Forgotten” and “Altars of Madness” while you’re at it? Perhaps it’s a piddling complaint, but it suggests that Sons of Azrael are somewhat unschooled in the genre they’re attempting to play.
But Sons of Azrael'’s main problem isn’t hokey lyrics or unoriginal songtitles, but rather a stultifying combination of redundant style and mediocre songwriting. This band may have nailed their aesthetic, but that aesthetic has been sucked dry by their countless hordes of peers, and this band simply doesn’t deliver enough earworms to make up the difference. As I said, I’m sure there are people who still want to hear more blasty ATG riffs with occasional breakdowns, but for the rest of us, this stuff gets staler every time. Next!
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