AZAAB "Summoning The Cataclysm"
By Dr. Abner Mality
I can't imagine a more difficult place to be a metal band than Pakistan, with the exception of North Korea or Afghanistan. Religious extremists are plentiful there and playing Western music of any kind, much less brutal death metal, is tricky. So no matter what the quality of the music is, I salute the gentlemen of AZAAB (which means "calamity" in their native tongue) for their dedication.
In cases of bands from exotic places, there is perhaps a tendency to give them a bit more credit than they are due, but "Summoning the Cataclysm" would be a solid album even if it came from Florida or New York. These guys are 100% inspired by classic American death metal in the vein of NILE, CANNIBAL CORPSE and MORBID ANGEL and they capture that sound pretty well. The record is well produced and very competently played, with great neoclassical guitar solos and absolutely manic drums. After a semi-placid intro "Pandemonium Twilight", "Carbon Plague" brutally rips into view with crushing force and strong death growls from Saad Latif. The song would not be out of place on any NILE album.
Although not rising to the absurdities of much tech death, there's an obvious progressive side to AZAAB's playing, where brutality mixes with technicality. "The Infernal Citadel" and "When Worlds Collide" are good examples of this. Bobby Koelble, who played in DEATH for a cup of coffee, joins in for a solo, as does Phil Tougas from CHTHE'LIST and WORM. There's a good cover of DECAPITATED's "The Empty Throne", which gives you a good idea of the kind of death metal AZAAB specializes in.
A couple of tracks are kind of by the numbers, but man, there is little room to complain about anything AZAAB is doing here. I hope these dudes stay active and stay safe and hopefully we will see them here in the States some day.