"The Tides of Damocles"

By Dr. Abner Mality

Sometimes there are acts and albums that don't light a fire in you even though they have all the necessary elements. I'm afraid Dawn of Azazel falls in that category for me. They are fast, they are ferocious, they are technically adept...but their approach to extreme metal just leaves me cold. That is strictly personal preference, though, because if you like explosive technical death metal, you may very well go head over heels for this.

The band hails from New Zealand and has been active for quite a few years now. The production on "The Tides of Damocles" is as dry as the Sahara Desert...not a drop of warmth or juice in it. That gives the band a very cold, mechanical feel that borders on the industrial. By far the worst aspect of DOA is their gratingly relentless typewriter drum sound....a non-stop "BRRRRRRRRAAAAPPPP!" that doesn't have an ounce of humanity to it. It also lacks heaviness.

In many ways, the initial tune "Strike First, Strike Hard, Strike Often" is the peak of the album. It has all the subtlety of a South Seas typhoon and features some interesting time changes. But the rest of "Tide of Damocles" follows too closely on its heels. That dry sandy sound and annoying drumming really kind of wear you down after a while. The album ends with the overlong "Tarnished Gold", which drones off in a boring doom way, bringing things to an unsatisfactory conclusion.

That's my take on "Tides of Damocles". If a combination of Hate Eternal and Meshuggah sounds like it might be up your alley, your opinion may vary considerably. I can't slam these guys hard, they're just not for me.