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Azziard – Liber Secondus – Exegese Award winner

Liber Secondus – Exegese
by Justin "Witty City" Wittenmeier at 24 June 2020, 8:54 AM

AZZIARD is a French black metal band formed in 2001.  “Liber Secondus – Exegese” is their fourth full length album.  They also have several demos, splits, and EP’s under their belt.  Against all odds of its closed minded origins, black metal has grown into one of the most variety filled genres of extreme metal that also has plenty of its own sub genres.  Often times, these multitude of layered sounds tend to push the vocals and guitar to the back, instead choosing to concentrate the bulk of the sound on atmosphere.  There isn’t anything wrong with that, and many bands do that so well, but it is refreshing to hear a band like AZZIARD.  “Liber Secondus – Exegese,” is heavy on atmosphere but it is also very much riff and vocal based.  The guitar tone is near perfect: searing and heavy but with just the right amount of sheen production to accent it all.  The individual notes in the guitars can be heard so well, enabling a sonic bridge that allows the rest of the songs to walk across with ease.  The vocals are exciting, vicious, and filled with raw, acidic emotion, perfectly complimenting each element in the songs.

I would be remiss if I didn’t give praise to the bass and drums as well, as both are essential to the compositions as well. There are so many bands, of all genres and styles, that under utilize bass and drums; these bands could have just about anyone play those instruments on their albums and nothing would really change.  But “Liber Secondus – Exegese,” isn’t that album—Anderswo and Sarnoth bring a performance that would drastically change the album’s sound if done any different. The opening track, “Seven Sermons To The Dead,” is an interesting moment on the album.  It is a full length instrumental track that is great on its own but also serves as an excellent opening to the rest of the album.

The band wastes no time with the second track, “Retrouvailles avec l’ame,” letting a cacophony of drums and guitar mix together for a speedy battering ram of solid steel before the vocals rip through it all.  The riffs twist and turn among the brutal drum attack and demanding the bass.  It is a potent experience but one that keeps through the whole album because this band is consistently firing on all cylinders. The song’s halfway point is a simple but effective clean portion that brings in enough depressive atmosphere to counter balance the previous minutes of rage. “The Scarlet Man,” is bombastic fury with terribly fast riffs cutting through the music fabric.  The precision of the drums is on point despite their speed, alleviating the song to aggressive levels that slow down to a depressive dirge, complete with depraved vocals and bass that backs it all up. The later half the song sees it returning to its more aggressive roots for a strong finish.

Images of the Wanderer,” begins with slower paced, clean notes that are methodical as they are creepy.  The song switches gears with rapid fire yet strangely melodic riffs that fit just perfectly into the flow and structure of the song. Around the 3:11 is a riff so tight, it sounds like it going to explode.   This particular moment is common throughout the album, parts that constantly hit one climax after another for constant motion, like the never ending waves of an ocean’s storm. “The Desert,” is the album’s final track and one hell of an ending.  The beginning moments have the drums going off like bursts of artillery.  The main riff is pure chaos, against the natural flow of just about everything.  The bass around the 4:38 all the way to the song end is all encompassing and a sterling example of the power of bass in black metal.  The guitar melodies, clean chants, the depraved vocals…it all mixes in for an amazing finish to an amazing album.

AZZIARD’s “Liber Secondus – Exegese” is an intense, dark journey of blackened fury but also a thought provoking one with many dimensions.  High recommended for any fans of black metal but also to people who just like damn good extreme metal. If this one doesn’t make a lot of top 10 lists at year’s end, then the metal community has a problem.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Seven Sermons To The Dead
2. Retrouvailles avec l’ame
3. The Three Prophecies
4. Incantation
5. The Scarlet Man
6. Images of the Wanderer
7. Le Chemin de croix
8. The Desert
A.S.A – Vocals
Nesh – Guitars, Synths, Samples
Anderswo – Drums
Gorgeist – Guitars
Sarnath – Bass
Record Label: Malpermesita Records


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Edited 08 February 2023

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