Azken Auzi, Azken Auzi (Argonauta 2023)

Sludgy doom band Azken Auzi release their self-titled debut.

Stationed in Toulon, France, Azken Auzi is a new band formed by musicians from other metal acts. Deciding they wanted a change of pace, they veered from death metal and noise toward atmospheric doom, frequently touching on funeral doom landscapes. Their new album is a deary delight.

“Disgrace” brings notes of fear to the beginning of the set. Slow and ominous, the lead-in sets up perfectly the gruff howls of despair that follow in the vocals. This is grim stuff, and unrelenting. “Azken Auzi” is up next, and it takes the music down a notch into funeral doom territory. Over the course of the song the tempo does pick up considerably, but the sentiment does not brighten. It is a thunderclap that keeps rolling. “I Hate You” is almost pleasant in comparison. The hopelessness and sorrow saturate the musical palate of this song as well, although here there is a sense of movement, an active sort of despair, you might say. Hate, after all, is actionable.

“Rho Scorpii” offers a sort of emotional parallax because the droning rhythm can set you down the path of darkness but there is also a reassuring known-ness to it as the song progresses. This is the sort of music that could go on for twenty minutes and you would still be hanging in there with it. “K.R.L.H.” is a graveyard dirge; lovely, drowning darkness. The pace turns after a while, and the narrative seems to switch toward a campaign – a path of intention. “Home” is the anchor and the longest track of the set. It has a tentative beginning that is clearly heading toward something else – change is in the air. This song is the most exploratory, and it covers the most ground. At the very end there is a bonus track, which is an alternate version of the title song. I appreciate the dark menace of this music and the dedication of the compositions to their purpose. Recommended.

Azken Auzi is out now through Argonauta Records. Get yours at the links below.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://azkenauzi.bandcamp.com/album/azken-auzi

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/azkenauzi

Argonauta Records, https://www.argonautarecords.com/

© Wayne Edwards

Azken Auzi, Azken Auzi (Argonauta 2023)

Ciminero, Shadows Digging The Grave (Argonauta Records 2022)

The sophomore album from occult doom metal band Ciminero is out now, Shadows Digging The Grave.

From the northern climes of Finland comes Ciminero. Their debut album, Subterranean Awakening, was favorably received in the occult rock and metal community when it was released in 2019. Having now had a few years together, the principals return with a new record that fulfills the promise of its predecessor. Information about the musicians is thin on the ground here in North America, so I will say band might be Jukka Aravirta (guitar), Valentina Vigato (vocals), Paavo Karppinen (bass), and Waltteri Laamanen (drums).

There are nine cuts on the new record, beginning appropriately with “Invoke Me.” It is an up-tempo rock number that has a nice groove and weighty thump. The first blush of Vigato’s voice is enchanting, and her vocals are accentuated by a nice periodic guitar pairing. A pleasant throwback lead guitar break takes us toward the exit. This is a well-executed opener. “Torment” follows. Operating at a slower pace, the doom facets are clearer here, and the more mystical tone fits more closely to my idea of what occult rock might sound like. It is an excellent song with a deceptively simple structure that draws you in and wraps itself around you.

“Ring of Perpetual Insanity” marks a turn toward a journey on a dark path. The molten guitar riffs form an encasing fabric for the vocals to inhabit, move away from, and ultimately return to. The tempo breaks toward the middle and a sense of quest ensues. I am fully committed at this point – the album is solid musically and its themes and temperament are intoxicating. Other stand-out tracks include “The Leaper,” which is a surging wrecker, and “Nettare d’Estasi,” a song that exudes sorrow, at least in my ears. The album is splendid, and Ciminero is a band to watch in the years to come. Recommended.

Shadows Digging The Grave is out now through Agonauta Records. Help yourself at the links below.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://ciminero.bandcamp.com/album/shadows-digging-the-grave

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/cimineroband

Argonauta Records, https://www.argonautarecords.com/

© Wayne Edwards

Ciminero, Shadows Digging The Grave (Argonauta Records 2022)