MP3 Azrael´s Bane - Wings of Innocence
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12 MP3 Songs
METAL: Power Metal, METAL: Progressive Metal
"....One of the finest indy records I've heard all year. Really good stuff!! Killer vocals!" ...Maximum Metal.com
Power Metal, Prog, Melodic Metal, Hard Rock, - descriptions touching on multiple genres of heavy music today, none seem to do justice to the music that is Azrael's Bane. It's members have embraced and expanded upon the music of legendary predecessors such as Iron Maiden, Savatage, Lillian Axe and Queensryche to create music that is as timeless as it is unique.
Based in Houston, Texas, Azrael's Bane was formed in the summer of 2002. The band's goal was to combine their individual experience and influences into creating music that was new, powerful, and different from the norm. The band began playing local shows in June of 2002, to rave reviews from local music fans, and press alike, quickly gaining headline status. They have since developed a large local following, expanded upon through regional touring, becoming one of the top drawing bands in the area. Azrael's Bane have also opened for national acts such as George Lynch (Dokken), Metal Church, Quiet Riot, LA Guns, and Lillian Axe among others.
The band began recording sessions at Houston's Spyder Studios in October of 2003 with producer and engineer Greg Gill (Distant Thunder, ZlotZ, Seven Witches) to record what would ultimately become their debut CD, "Wings of Innocence", released in May of 2004.
With soaring vocals, shred oriented musicianship, five part vocal harmonies, and an emphasis on memorable, hook-laden songwriting, Azrael's Bane are poised to make their mark on modern metal music.
".....The more I listen to the debut CD the more I enjoy it! I am going to put it in my top20 list of 2004. And it'll be in the top 10 for sure!!!!"
... Hellspawn Magazine.com
"...Expertly crafted American metal!!" .... Metal Hammer Magazine
"...The musicianship on this CD is exemplary, especially the vocals of Trey Gadler and guitar work of Jeff Clifton and Chuck McFadden. If you are into traditional metal and like to hear some serious guitar shredding and melodic vocals - this CD is a must..."
Maximum Metal December Indy Spotlight - Azrael's Bane 12-2-04
Sometimes you come across those metal bands that don't quite fit the usual mold. The bands that really have an original sound that doesn't focus on trends or mass marketing campaigns, instead allowing their music to create their own paths. Today we have so many bands crossing over genres, but at the same time they seem to be playing follow the leader. MTV and Headbanger's Ball have been shoving nu and extreme metal down our throats, but never take the time to allow a good melodic band a decent spin. Azrael's Bane are that good melodic band that needs to be heard today, this very minute, by the vast majority of trend seekers and so called headbangers.
You see it is difficult to go against the grain, to develop a style and system that is different than everyone else, then to get that style across to the suits and ties who manage what this country listens to, and what this country considers hip and radio friendly. If Azrael's Bane could be heard and played, then they have a very good shot at being accepted, helping to break down the walls of a very close knit circle. For some reason MTV doesn't like good, clean metal fun, instead they want us to use equations and calculators while we wrestle with extreme math metal like Mastodon, Dying Fetus, and Dillinger Escape Plan. Whatever happened to hearing a soaring riff on the radio, then getting your friends together and playing air guitar along with it? I miss the days of Boston, Styx, and Thin Lizzy, when good metal was good music. Nowadays the radio is just stale and uneventful, with most of today's good music coming from the underground, from places like Houston, the home of Azrael's Bane, one of the finest indy bands of our time, a fine group of professional musicians who aren't afraid to play riffs for melody, who aren't afraid that their clean sound isn't heavy or extreme enough to catch the teen listeners. They just do what they do best, playing fine heavy metal in the tradition of the 70s and 80s, with thought provoking, fun lyrics that aren't created out of hatred or protest, but from a genuine passion for this type of music.
The band formed in 2002, and just two years later have released their debut record, "Wings Of Innocence", independently with no help or "guidance" from a record label. Is this a good thing? I like to think so, since this album is completely created by the band, with no outside help whatsoever. This is straight from the heart, the way it should be. Fans of bands like Lillian Axe, Savatage, and Queensryche will find plenty to like about this record. It has all of the melody and signature riffs of the 80s, but a speed racer vision of life here in this millennium as well. Some of the grooves come out of the 90s, but for the most part this is a great blend of 80s and today. I never thought I would hear a band attempt to pull off the abstract sounds of Lillian Axe, but Azrael's Bane have achieved that. Their songs aren't really structured like most hard rock acts, instead they take the Lillian Axe way of thinking by mixing the songs up. You won't hear verse, chorus, verse, chorus, lead, chorus. Instead the band builds through each song with several verses, sometimes not even throwing in a chorus part. This sort of pattern keeps everything more lively, allowing room for the songs to build, but at the same time allowing plenty of melody to soak in.
Guitarists Jeff Clifton and Chuck McFadden have a great thing going, combining on some catchy hooks and memorable twin guitar melody. On opening track "Shine", the two race to the front with a European gallop that reminds me of Edguy or Avantasia, but for the most part the duo stay on par with the likes of Dokken, White Lion, and even a slower Racer X at times. Cuts like "Chasing A Memory", "Mercy", and "Saints And Sinners" are deeply rooted in the 80s, with soaring riffs and a melodic groove throughout. Other tracks like "Lie To Me", "Innocence", and "Saving Grace" display that neat Lillian Axe craftsmanship, which I emphasize again that nobody has really tried until now. "Rainbow's Edge" will please fans of Vicious Mary, Pink Cream 69, and even Wycked Synn. Vocalist Trey Gadler doesn't really sound like anyone, with his voice register being mostly mid-range, which he uses effectively on ballads like "Foolish Pride" and "Silence", but at times he can hit the higher notes, bringing in the Queensryche elements when needed. The whole band chips in for vocal duty, allowing plenty of backing vocals for each track.
Considering this is an indy release, it is very tight and polished. I don't know what a bigger budget would really do to help make this album sound better. Azrael's Bane's debut comes off perfectly, really showcasing a brand new band with a whole lot of skill and talent. If we could get these guys decent radio play or a television appearance, it would definitely help the current drought we are in. Bands like this are few and far between, and for whatever reason never seem to get the proper respect they deserve.
Best case scenario, they land a label deal with someone like NEH Records, Perris Records, or Nitemare.
Worst case scenario, they fall into the dreaded crack in the Earth, which seems to open wider for bands like Radakka, Jackal, and Azrael's Bane
9/10 Metal Coven.com (F. Justin Ossmann)
Azrael's Bane is a power metal band from Texas, a state from which I am more used to hearing death metal and grind (Corpse Gristle, anyone?). Nonetheless, they are one of the few American bands playing power metal in the European style that manage to pull the style off better than their counterparts across the pond. "Wings of Innocence," the band's debut album, is even more remarkable because it is the first full-length release by Azrael's Bane, yet is solid enough and professional-sounding enough that I would have thought it the fourth or fifth release by an established band, had I not discovered otherwise. Even the press material - a two-sided full-color folder containing a photo postcard and a hand-written letter on Azrael's Bane letterhead - are the sort of details that even decade-old metal bands miss on.
While deeply rooted in traditional power metal a la Helloween, Stratovarius, and the general assortment of 80's power rock bands (most of whom I strongly dislike), Azrael's Bane manage to mix things up enough to keep it interesting, even for one who is not normally impressed by this style of music such as I. There are a surprising number of tempo changes, interjections of odd time signatures, and other subtle surprises. Sound effects and sound clips also spice up the variety of "Wings of Innocence." A crack of thunder, some pouring rain, footsteps leading to a telephone, a news byte... all of these help to break up the pacing of this album, granting Azrael's Bane a uniqueness lacking in many other bands playing this style of music.
"Shine" kicks off the album with guitar work that can only be described as fantastic; definitely several steps above the sort of guitar skill present on most power metal albums. Even underneath the singular and layered vocals, the axe pyrotechnics are impressive. Guitarists Jeff Clifton and Chuck McFadden cover the spectrum of what their instruments can do, from Iron Maiden-esque two-part harmonies to thick crunching riffs to sparkling solos, and even several examples of acoustic guitar (an instrument that deserves to be used far more often in this style of music... Blind Guardian aside, of course).
Lead vocalist Trey Gadler (no relation to Thomas Rune, I'm sure) is an adequate vocalist, but Azrael's Bane truly shine when all five members supply vocals. Yes, every member of the band is credited with vocals, even drummer Donny Bragg. The result is a vocal-centric style of power metal with thick choruses and a more group-sounding effect than those power metal bands featuring one vocalist layered against himself.
Both McFadden and bassist Brent Marches are credited with keys, but there is not too much of a keyboard presence here; it is the vocals and guitars that drive "Wings of Innocence." Most of the songs on "Wings of Innocence" are mid-tempo, but there are a couple examples of faster or slower tracks. And several songs are distinctive enough to be mentioned specifically. "Waiting" is one of the faster songs on the album, and begins with a powerful a Capella choir of epic proportions. "Silence" opens with the aforementioned footsteps leading to a phone, followed by the sound of an automated answering machine, a sigh, heavy riffing, and acoustic guitars. "Psycho Serenade" goes from soundclip to beautifully haunting guitar harmonies to evil riffs of a time signature that I still haven't quite figured out. There's a passage about four minutes into "Lie to Me" that completely throws me off (in a good way). And these are just a few of such moments. Yet the music never grows avant garde, unstable, or moves away from that unified power metal sound.
Azrael was an archangel, traditionally considered the Islamic angel of death. So Azrael's Bane would be... life? Power metal? Whatever his bane might be, it is certainly excellent and enjoyable to listen to! Only the most vehemently anti-power metal music lovers won't find something to enjoy in "Wings of Innocence." Power metal with a little bit of prog and a little bit of 80's... I have little doubt that Azrael's Bane will be around for a while, and will only gain attention as they hone their craft.
92/100 Hellspawn.com - Nico DeVreese
Azrael's Bane is a five man band from Houston, TX who we discovered by accident while surfing the web. We got in touch with the guys from the band and a couple of weeks later received their demo package that included their debut cd "Wings of Innocence" in our mailbox. Our first impression while listening to the cd was very positive and it reminded us of the English band Excalibur [RIP] who never received enough credit for their under rated debut "One Strange Night" so many years ago. The comparison I make is mostly directed towards the singing talent of Trey Gadler. I underline that I don't think he's a rip off of the singer of Exalibur but it's just in the same genre. For old fans of Exalibur we definitely recommend that you check out Azrael's Bane. These Americans are influenced by NWOBHM in combination with melodic power metal. You can also hear some progressive influences but it never gets too cheesy. The more I listen to the debut cd the more I enjoy it and most of all the singing talents of Trey. The only negatives I can find are that the backing vocals aren't as convincing as they could be, but for the rest, the sound of the recording is awesome. I hope a big label will sign these guys fast and for anyone interested in this 12 song debut go to the Azrael's Bane website at www.azraelsbane.com
Metal Hammer Greece (www.hammer.gr)
The band Azrael's Bane comes from the USA. Their music is in the style preferred by audiences in Europe. Previro Power was impressed with what they heard. This CD's music is comparable to bands like Lillian Axe, Leatherwolf, Pink Cream 69, Radakka and Myrmidon Creed. This music is an appealing mixture of hard rock and power metal, sort of like a combination of Skid Row and Savatage. You can hear this from the beginning notes of Azrael's Bane "Wings of Innocence". This is expertly done old school US metal.
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