Awrizis‘ Final Hybridation has been lurking in my promo pool for what seems like metric eons. For my own tardiness as a reviewer, I can only offer my apologies. Had I listened to their debut when it was released last Summer, however, I’ve no doubt that they would have found their way onto one of my year-end lists. For the sake of present listening, Awrizis’ full-length debut offers a strong development on the Gothenburg brand of melodic death metal, with the promise of even better things to come.
For such a young band, the first thing that stands out with Awrizis is the level of proficiency that they’ve already developed as a band. From the jarring intro (including a well-placed “Heeeeeeere’s Johnny!” sample from The Shining) to the first song onwards, one gets the impression that Awrizis really know what they’re doing, far more than would be expected from a band’s first full-length. Though their Facebook and official webpages proudly define Awrizis as a “hybrid metal” band, I think that invented label connotes more genre-bending than there actually is. There are certain hints of style from the thrash and groove metal schools, but Awrizis generally have found themselves a snug place within the melodic death metal tradition.
Although Final Hybridation” often enjoys a predilection for the intense and technical, almost all of the tracks showcase a tried-and-true format for songwriting. Among the best of these are “Let Your Fury Flow” and “Feel What I Have to Feel Every Day”. With reference to “Let Your Fury Flow”, Awrizis show themselves to be early experts of integrating melody in with the speed and aggression. Particularly during the song’s would-be chorus, Awrizis are able to change the shape and mood of a riff by switching the chords from beneath it. It’s a ‘melodic’ technique I believe was pioneered and perfected in extreme metal by Jon Nödveidt of Dissection, but Awrizis do a great job of mixing melody in with their style.
While it’s no criticism necessarily of Tomáš Bělík‘s growled vocals, the rather generic and predictable way Awrizis have used vocals here does tend to feel underwhelming, especially considering how much success they’ve had in other areas.
I don’t know if it’s a result of the tendency for artists to want to make the best first impression or simply the psychological primacy effect in action, but too many metal albums seem to suffer a weaker second half. Final Hybridation is no exception. “instruMENTAL” may, as instrumentals often do, have implied we would hear Awrizis stretching the limits of their musical abilities; while the bass and drums get some much-needed showcasing, on the whole, the track falls well short of its promise, often sounding like a typical Awrizis song, sans the vocal performance. Although it dawdles slightly from “Brainspheres” onward, Final Hybridation ends on a high mark with “The World Behind Closed Eyes”, an excellent track that brings epic symphonic undertones redolent of Emperor into the fold. At less than forty minutes, Awrizis have been thought to moderate the length; whereas a great many debuts bite off more than they can chew, Final Hybridation is proof that Awrizis have found an identity early on and are confident enough to stick with it.
Final Hybridation — in spite of the awkward spelling of its title — is a solid piece of melodic death metal, and it’s enough to put Awrizis on my radar for the future. There are things about the album that don’t impress me as much as I rightly wish they could (most notably, their rate of consistency), but it’s at least offered a possible avenue with which to improve on future efforts. For what it’s worth, it’s been a quiet couple of years for melodic death metal, and it’s great to see a band taking up the mantle and keeping it alive.
01) The Process
02) We are Gifts of Hell
03) Let your Fury Flow
04) Feel what I have to Feel every Day
06) Poison in my Veins
08) I Saw your Fall
09) To the North we will Go
10) The World Behind Closed Eyes