Aziola Cry – The Ironic Divide
It’s been almost fourteen years since Illinois based instrumental trio Aziola Cry released their last album. That was Ghost Conversations back in 2007. Now in 2021, they give us their heaviest and most intricate work to date, by way of “The Ironic Divide”. The album’s forty-eight minutes span four tracks of technical metal wizardry, that tell the story (musically) of one person’s final descent.
In true metal fashion, guitarist Jason Blake plays Warr Guitar. Now that for me, conjures up an image of Coma-Doof Warrior from Mad Max: Fury Road, the blind guitarist who was part of Immortan Joe’s militia, riding and playing a flame-throwing electric guitar on the front of the Doof Wagon. It’s actually something much cooler than that.
The Warr Guitar is an American-made “touch” guitar, one that combines both bass and melodic strings on a single fretboard, a bit like the Chapman Stick, and Jason’s model has twelve strings. Touch guitars are designed for the fretboard-tapping style rather than being strummed. Other well known Warr guitar players include Trey Gunn (ex of King Crimson) and Colin Marston (Behold…the Arctopus).
The band’s synopsis of the album is this; “There are two types of people in this world. There are those who do good for others and make a positive contribution to society in some way. Then, there are those who do evil and hurt fellow humans. There is no rationale behind their behaviour. They are cowards. This is their story”. If you are struggling to find a story in the music, the band have released a video of the opening track ‘And Cowards’ which may help.
Aziola Cry – And Cowards (click here if the video does not play)
The shortest track on the album at 6:38 is ‘Hollow Reflections’. The first half is laid back and mellow, which allows you to really appreciate the two-handed tapping by Jason on his Warr guitar. This is nicely accompanied by Mike Milaniak on guitar, and Tommy Murray on drums. At roughly the half-way point, the style changes and becomes heavier, changing constantly for the rest of the track.
Aziola Cry – Hollow Reflections (click here if the video does not play)
At 21:06 long title track, ‘The Ironic Divide’ might sound like it’s going to be one of those jam sessions where no-one knows when to stop. There is a structure of course, and this musical journey takes you through many a time change and numerous embellishments.
With still over twelve minutes to go, the final track is the intriguingly titled ‘Scars Now Rest Where Once Bore Wings’. An ominous sounding beginning gradually builds in stature, then drops into a sedate passage with beautiful guitar tones that are full of feeling. This slows to a halt, restarts, and gets lively, chopping and changing as it goes on its merry way. A shorter (both in length and title), single version of this was released in early March 2021.
Aziola Cry – Where Once Bore Wings (click here if the video does not play)
This is the sort of music that you just need to concentrate on and let wash over you. Because it’s all instrumental, the absence of words and lyrics means you are free to interpret it all in any way you wish. Maybe it will be a different interpretation each time you listen. One thing is for sure, you can’t fail to be impressed by the superb musicianship of this trio.
It’s not clear why there has been such a long gap between albums. Whatever the reason, I hope we don’t have to wait another 14 years to hear from these guys again. Talent like this needs to be heard more and preferably witnessed live, we live in hope.
- And Cowards
- Hollow Reflections
- The Ironic Divide
- Scars Now Rest Where Once Bore Wings