Azooma – The Act of Eye (Xtreem Music)Monday, 14th November 2016
Initially impressing with A Hymn of the Vicious Monster two years ago, Iranian death metal band Azooma is back for a second outing with The Act of Eye. For all the talk about how death metal continues to sound the same, this is one act that seems to be on good terms with how to move forward without sounding like the rest of their peers, while keeping familiar enough to appeal to the distinct fanbase.
Azooma’s sound is an expansive one. There’s bits and pieces of progressive, technical, melodic, and more (just about all that’s missing is old school), and you can draw comparisons across the board from Cynic and Pestilence to Opeth and Obscura, but Azooma deftly avoids any real direct comparisons. Sometimes jazzy, vibrant bass lines lead the way, sometimes it’s melodic riffing and clean vocals (effectively used so don’t run away yet), sometimes it’s thundering and brutal grooves with impressive roars, and sometimes it’s a sleekly progressive lead with some slight eastern influences. But such dynamics could have negative repercussions if not handled properly, and thankfully that’s not the case here. At roughly an hour of music, Azooma are quick to engross the listener and provide plenty of flow to their consistently changing directions. And lengthy tracks like “The Ocular Dominance” and “Erosion of Shadows” never outlast their welcome, due in part to the way that they’ve structured and peppered the songs with interesting riffs and contrast.
Azooma are shaping up to be a force to be reckoned with in extreme music. With two releases snug under their belt, and impressive leaps in creativity, they are all but certain to be ready to make that leap into something truly spectacular with their next release. Until then, The Act of Eye itself is worthy of plenty of praise itself for being a fun and dynamic listen with technical flair that enhances instead of deflates.