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Azure Agony - India

Azure Agony
by Emily Coulter at 24 February 2014, 1:32 AM

Everyone likes a bit of Prog no matter if it's DREAM THEATER or OPETH but it's even better when it's done to such a good standard and that the case for AZURE AGONY. The group combine classic Metal riffs with high keyboard scales creating a near perfect progressive sound which can only get better throughout their newest release. ''India'' is a number one album for anyone who is wanting to get into progressive metal but loves classic Rock.

Opening track ''Twin Babel'' gives a great insight for what is yet to come from AZURE AGONY with simple but effective guitars from Gabriele Pala which only compliments Federico Ahren's vocals which are highly influenced by power metal but you could compare him to of DREAM THEATER. Marco Sgubin's high scale keyboard solo's throughout the song makes ''Twin Babel'' a perfect opener and Carlo Simeoni's drumming is the most original drum style you will hear in a very long time, making you anticipated and wondering if the band can create anything more exhilarating than this but the Italians keep on improving when moving to next track ''Private Fears''.

''Private Fears'' has more of a power metal influence within the track than ''Twin Babel'' but is just as impressive, proving no matter how they're inspired they can pull it off. Ahren's wide range of vocals are used intensively throughout the song going to his highest and lowest points in singular moments which really helps the lyrics come to life, if you're looking for an Italian BRUCE DICKINSON with a near perfect vocal range to him then Federico Ahren is your man. After Pala gives out a mind blowing solo the song takes a much darker tone going slower and introducing acoustic guitar playing before going back to its root genre near the end. Opening up with eerie keyboards and theatrical vocals the band follows on with its darker tone in ''Libra's Fall'', the lyrics are dark and personal but the music is something which you could compare to the SCORPIONS in their later years. The track is a showcase of what every member in the band can do, all getting their own solo's to show off their amazing talents: Marco Sgubin's magical keyboard working with Pala to create blazing Metal riffs and Simeoni creating unique drum fills. ''Libra's Fall'' is not as good as the previous two tracks but still impressive to say the least.

Leaving the darker side of the progressive spectrum the band's next track ''My Last Time On Earth'' is much more easy to listen to with its melodic guitars giving some very unique riffs showing that Pala has a very individual writing style for guitars where the scales match Ahren's highs. The song definitely is not one of the band's best releases with this sounding as different as it could to the rest though it is a welcome surprise but just does not fit well for the album in any form but AZURE AGONY slightly change back to their own sound with album title track ''India''. Progressive Metal with a Rock N’ Roll edge, it seems like the unlikeliest combination in metal but it somehow works out in the best way possible, bringing out their unique sound with obvious influence from other groups with ''India''. Being the longest track on the album ''India'' stops for a small instrumental break in between before leaving the rock and roll side behind and getting back to their heavy metal roots. Ahren takes a back seat within the group and lets everyone else show how well they perform having everyone in sync showing how the best solo's in Prog are made. ''India'' could do with being slightly shorter and made into possibly two tracks but it's a big improvement to the weaker songs.

''Hold My Hand'' isn't one of the best songs of the album but is certainly a change, making the change to progressive rock from their Metal roots changing their music to sound like COHEED AND CAMBRIA's early material. The song is melodic with Ahren's vocals a lot calmer and less dramatic than previous songs, the keyboard and accordion takes the attention of the listener the most due to it being different but working really well together, Marco Sgubin is a very talented  musician. AZURE AGONY head back to Metal with ''A Man That No Longer Is'' combining Djent guitars with exciting keyboard scales throughout the 7 and a half minute song. Lyrics are more exciting like the first songs of the album which works well when Ahren's vocals go from low to high rapidly but the bass playing of Marcoo Firman is in top form here unlike other songs where you can barely hear him though Pala's solo at The band really do need to keep their sound like this as they know how to create great Progressive Metal which could make them as big as current leaders of the genre DREAM THEATER. Final song of ''India'' is ''Forever Blind'' which is full to the brim of keyboards, drum fills and spectacular riffs performed by all the band, the track combines everything what was featured in the rest of the songs to create one final hit, it breaks into a small acoustic part at 5.24 before going back into sheer Metal power only getting heavier till the end. ''Forever Blind'' is as dramatic and exciting as it can get for the band with the lyrics being dark, Ahren putting so much effort into changing tempo's in such a long song which could of made better if was two minutes shorter.

''India'' by AZURE AGONY is a great album to listen to if you wish to get into Progressive Metal and Rock but unsure where to start. All members of the band are spectacularly talented at every instrument they play and when they come together they produce an album which could be one of the best progressive albums of all time. 

4 Star Rating

1. Twin Babel
2. Private Fears
3. Libra's Fall
4. My Last Time On Earth
5. India
6. Hold My Hand
7. A Man That No Longer Is
8. Forever Blind
Federico Ahrens – Vocals
Marco Sgubin – Keyboards, Accordion
Gabriele Pala – Guitars, Chapman Stick
Marco Firman – Bass
Carlo Simeoni – Drums
Record Label: SG Records


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