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Awrizis – Gears of Fear

Awrizis
Gears of Fear
by Andrew Graham at 20 January 2021, 9:34 PM

Czech genre-jumpers AWRIZIS offer a genuinely unique product on their third full-length album. Dressed in the guise of very relevant, arresting lyrics (see song titles like “Quarantined (My Home, My Grave”) is an immensely entertaining nod to very clear musical influences which jump about ambitiously but never falling flat on their faces. Indeed, there’s nothing derivative or plagiaristic here – we can well argue whether there are any original ideas anymore some other time! – but rather a scenic tour of numerous styles, all of which are done very confidently!

The album opens with “Where the True Nature of Human Dwells in Shadow”, which certainly gives the listener a clear idea of the brutality we are in for but lacks the compulsive hooks and tasty riffs that are present across the rest of the album – a little bit of a weak opener, would have been better to slide this in somewhere in the middle perhaps? “The Great Purge” more than compensates for this slightly underwhelming introduction. A catchy riff hooks us in before hitting us with the odd addition of (what sounds like) a tambourine – unusual? Yes. Works? Again, yes! A cracker of a solo rounds this out before we close and proceed to “North of My Heart”. Upon first listening I wanted to describe it as a power ballad, which my genre-nerding brain almost imploded at. Then I realised what I had suspected since the last track was confirmed: there’s a very clear melodic death metal influence, my mind was cast back to mid-period IN FLAMES (circa Come Clarity and A Sense of Purpose). Inject the classic black metal blast-beat and this is the result and oh boy is it satisfying!

“Broken Clocks” follows, opening with mournful piano and strings before transposing the sorrowful tune into guitars, drums, and then acoustic guitars. The back and forth between gentle verse and hard-hitting chorus amplifies the heavily-laden emotional feel of the song – something else I always liked about IN FLAMES! No pale imitations here though, these guys have a style and an attitude all their own. “Veins vs. Wires”, in addition to being one of those compulsive head-bangers I so often talk about, has a distinct defiant feel about it – I confess to being unable to explain this rationally, there’s just a feel to it: experience it for yourself! More IN FLAMES-esque acoustic sections and guitar solo harmonies really elevate this track, along with thoughtfully used synths.

“The Racing Heart” (as the name suggests) features a central driving riff supported by double-bass drumming which finishes in a TRIVIUM style build-up and crescendo. “Quarantined (My Home, My Grave)”, in fitting with the lyrical material has a palpable feeling of desperation about it, right down to the increasingly urgent whispers, then cries, of “let me out!” Leaves the listener feeling slightly uneasy if I’m honest – can anybody say, relatable?

“Dehumanized” has an almost symphonic air, thanks to skilful use of synths, though nonetheless rooted in the largely death metal aesthetic established hereto. The album closes with “Signs in the Sky”, another one that feels kind of like a power ballad (the tambourine is back!) An upwards key-change towards the conclusion ends the song (and album) on a deeply satisfying note (literally!)

There are a couple of small sound-related issues worth noting. The kick-drum sounds a bit over-compressed and drowns out the guitars in places, especially where double-bass drum work occurs. The death-growl vocals suffer from the same affliction also, making the oh-so-wonderfully chunky guitars difficult to discern.

Overall, there is much to enjoy here! Almost every track is strong and worth a listen in its own right. These guys enjoy their craft and that comes across clearly throughout this album. The mixture of styles and elements is skilfully done and never jarring. This is a half-hour romp that is fun, satisfying, and thoroughly worth your time!

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 6

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
  1. Where the True Nature of Human Dwells in Shadow
  2. The Great Plague
  3. North of My Heart
  4. Broken Clocks
  5. Veins vs. Wires
  6. The Racing Heart
  7. Quarantined (My Home, My Grave)
  8. Dehumanized
  9. Signs in the Sky
Lineup:
Marek “Frodys” Pytlik – Vocals and guitar
Hanz – Guitar
Vencur – Bass
Igor – Drums
Record Label: Slovak Metal Army
     


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