AZIOLA CRY - “The Ironic Divide”

By Dark Starr

This is the newest CD from this Chicago based band. It continues to the dark instrumental prog concepts of their earlier work. I'd have to say that this one seems to get more metallic than the band have usually gone. I'm sure it's enough to get the prog purists upset, but personally I think it works well here. There is more METALLICA here and perhaps less DJAM KARET. I'd say there is as much DREAM THEATER in the mix as always, though. However you classify it, though, this is a strong release and great addition to the catalog.

Frantic metallic grinding brings the opening "And Cowards" into being with a fast paced texture. This makes me think of RUSH, but with a slightly heavier edge than the heavier stuff from “Snakes and Arrows”. This thing has a number of shifts and changes. At times it lands closer to something like METALLICA, but it also makes its way back to RUSHish zones. There are some seriously prog-based changes and progressions further down the road, but still flavored by metallic edges.

Not as decidedly metallic, "Hollow Reflections" has more of a nuanced approach. it's equally dark and dangerous sounding, though. Around the half-way mark this powers out into some screaming hot jamming that has a lot of metal meets KING CRIMSON to it. The cut continues to evolve and explore going through some killer metallic prog twists and turns. This is dramatic, powerful and somehow cinematic in nature. It gets a little mellower before this ride is over.

"The Ironic Divide" is an epic that runs over 21 minutes. It comes in as a metallic powerhouse stomper that really drives with ferocity and style. It's part DREAM THEATER and part early METALLICA. There are some amazing changes on this thing. It has so much tasty metal edge, and yet some smoking hot prog, too. Twisting and turning, this is so powerful. There are some pretty crazed moments here. It gets thrashy at times. This is such a strong and dynamic piece of music. It really does deserve to be the title track and the epic of the disc.

"Scars Now Rest Where Once Bore Wings" is seriously metallic. It's driving dramatic and bombastic music. This turns seriously thrashy for a while later in the piece. There are some moodier, rather mysterious movements, too. All in all, it's another dynamic powerhouse screamer. The cut almost seems to end around the nine-and-a-half-minute mark. It's reborn from there, though, into a fast-paced and hard rocking prog jam. There are still dropped back moments as that movement takes control of the piece.