One thing the Sons of Azrael cannot be faulted for is their sense of urgency. From the initial double bass blast and retro metal riffing, it’s obvious that The Conjuration of Vengeance, will be a pulverizing, unrelenting, and brisk lesson nestled comfortably in the school of death metal and grindcore. This it is and with all due respects, Sons of Azrael do it well.
This debut from the Buffalo, N.Y. quintet combines its obvious late ‘80s thrash obsessions, mid ‘90s death metal, and current age grindcore elements to pummel the listener into submission. The breakneck pace never slackens, nor do the vocals display one bit of tonality aside from the gutteral rants and high-pitched black metal screams.
This perfect marriage of metal particulars—is nicely done here, as is their appropriate lyrical content derived from the Anton Lavey school of evil. Tracks like “Trail of Flesh,” and “Sweet Blasphemy” display their well-executed vision of combining the past with the present.
But certain problems crop up repeatedly, which begin to weigh down the duration of the album and lessen the overall effect the boys are trying to get across. Problems such as an over-reliance on In Flames styled melodic guitar undertones, messy drum-to-guitar timing issues that hinder the flow and a general lack of originality, abrupt tempo changes, and a sometimes not-so-smooth delivery. Many of the riffs come across like retreads from the deceased Death guitarist Chuck Schuldiner (R.I.P.), that after awhile begin to stagnate, as does the stuccato guitar chops mingling with the blast beat/ double bass mayhem.
Regardless of intent, The Conjuration of Vengeance is a strong statement of music delivered with intense energy and conviction. Aside from their obvious trappings, the Sons of Azrael are clearly on the right track, despite their shortcomings and songwriting issues. At least the groups they chose to emulate fucking rule.