Chicago instrumental metal trio Aziola Cry release their first album in twelve years, The Ironic Divide.
The band is Jason Blake (Warr guitar), Mike Milaniak (guitar), and Tommy Murray (drums). That looks like two guitars and drums, which might lead us down the path of thinking that the sound will be a little hollow. Not at all. For one thing, Jason Blake is playing a Warr guitar which has a huge range (do a quick internet search on the instrument to find out how amazing it is), and besides that, the compositions themselves are designed to fill your ears with layers of sound and depths of meaning.
There is a story the musicians are working with, too, and it helps to know it going in because there is no narrative vocal. “The forty-eight-minute album features four songs which tell the story of one person’s final descent. There are two types of people in this world. There are those who do good for others and make a positive contribution to society in some way. Then, there are those who do evil and hurt fellow humans. There is no rationale behind their behavior. They are cowards. This is their story.”
Naturally, the music is guitar heavy, driven by riffs and vastly enriched through the expansion of the instruments in an impressive variety of approaches and applications. The longest piece is the title track at twenty one minutes, and the others are hefty as well. For me, though, I took it all in as one work rather than trying to assemble separated meanings or looking at it like a track-by-track chronology.
The music is ambitious and there is no mistaking this for something other than a metal album. Instrumental heavy metal has always fascinated me and I find it to be one of the best ways to imbibe in the form. This is my first pass at Aziola Cry and I am off now to listen to the earlier albums. You can concentrate on this music intently or have it instead surround you as part of your environment. Either way, it will soak in. Recommended.
The Ironic Divide hits the streets on March 26th in CD digipak or digital forms.