Azazello: Black Day (CD, 48:19); Moonchild Records, 34926, 2000 E-mail: N/A Cyberhome: http://www.progressor.net/azazello 10 words or less: Quirky, Creative, Russian ProgMetal band. Elaboration: Although admittedly it's not my favorite progressive music sub-genre, I do like good ProgMetal. Azazello works in the typical 4-piece prog ensemble configuration with the guitarist handling vocals; also, the guitarist either writes or co-writes all tunes. Track one threw me off as it strangely reminded me of something I heard by Missing Persons, hence the "quirky" adjective. Track 2 is instrumental and goes through many tight changes; I like this. As a matter of fact, all of the tunes on this album are chock full of creative stops and changes but unlike much of the other ProgMetal bands I've heard, there is a certain Pop or New Wave element here as I listen to track 3. This element becomes more apparent whenever the vocals come in. Fortunately, this album isn't overrun with vocals, which BTW are in Russian. There is a nice variety of keyboard sounds which save the album during the instrumental passages. Many of the changes seem to come from left field, keeping the listener off balance but definitely keeping your attention. Track 7 is the longest; clocking in at 10:44 it is by far the strongest. Starting with electric piano then increasing intensity at once as the rest of the band comes in for the intro. The stops and changes abound with a quiet piano accompanying the first verse of vocals. Hyper-speed Metal passages contrast with vocal verses and more tuneful instrumental sections but wait, a Baroque interlude now... very entertaining... there is a very long instrumental section here with many wonderful changes. I'm quite enjoying this. If the whole album were as strong as this tune I would be a big fan of this band. Acoustic guitar and synthesized flute provide the mello concluding track on the album. ~L. Perez
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