Sons of Azrael
The Conjuration of Vengeance

Metal Blade (2007) Kevin Fitzpatrick

Sons of Azrael – The Conjuration of Vengeance cover artwork
Sons of Azrael – The Conjuration of Vengeance — Metal Blade, 2007

"Trail of Flesh," "Sweet Blasphemy," and "Scent of a Dead Whore". Sure, we all know these titles as classic children's books, but did you know that they've been adapted into songs by a group called Sons of Azrael? Yes, that's right - all your favorite bedtime stories set to music on one convenient disc

as sung by the cookie monster.

Ok, that's cheap - the cookie monster joke's been done to death and I feel like a lesser person having used it. You know what else has been done to death? This music. These boys from Buffalo play the metal des morte and they play it well - blastbeats galore and all, but there's something lacking. Oh yeah, that's what it is. I can't seem to remember a single damn song on the album. After repeated listens, I can't remember a single note, growl, or grunt. The song titles are memorable. "Turn That Crown Upside Down", being a personal fave. Just don't ask me to tell you how it goes.

Look, The Conjuration of Vengeance is the S.O.A.'s debut album and it doesn't suck - the band just needs to streamline their sound, because it sounds very much like a debut album - that is to say, every influence they've ever known shit out in digital quality. Maybe "bled out" would be more fitting, as the band clearly put their heart, soul, blood, sweat, tears, spit and spoo into this release. Death metal is a genre that is in desperate need of bands that break the weather-beaten tradition of the sound. Everybody's vying for that coveted "special guest" slot on Ozzfest by sounding exactly like every band they're competing with and the snake just winds up eating its own tail.

There's a reason why the pioneer bands of the genre are so revered - bands like Death, Carcass and Morbid Angel - because even though they were all painted by the same media-brush as it's own subgenre, they each had very distinct sounds, and those familiar with the music could distinguish the difference in nanoseconds. Try that with the bands of today - the Red Chords, the Black Dahlia Murders, the Despised Icons - again, bands that aren't terrible but are wallowing in the tar pit of a style of music that for the most part doesn't care if they go under or not, because they're fully aware they'll be another sound-alike band to take their place before Sharon Osbourne even has a chance to check the gate receipts.

Sons of Azrael – The Conjuration of Vengeance cover artwork
Sons of Azrael – The Conjuration of Vengeance — Metal Blade, 2007

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