Surprises are relatively rare in this age of hyper-publicity. Yet every once in a while something like Azaab’s Summoning the Cataclysm falls from the sky to clock you in the noggin before landing at your feet.
Summoning the Cataclysm is equal parts melodic, progressive, and bludgeoning. Artist Ardha Lepa’s cover art encapsulates that dynamic well, the creepiness of a fire-eyed skeleton traversing an unknown mountaintop standing in contrast with the gang of comets painting the sky in yellow and orange. In that sense, the band and the artist walk in lockstep, joining seemingly incongruous things with fantastic results. That Summoning is the band’s debut album makes such an achievement all the more impressive.
That the seventh track is a cover of Decapitated’s “The Empty Throne” should be no surprise if you’re giving the album a full listen. I can’t vouch for what Decapitated has sounded like since Carnival is Forever, but you could pick most any song from The Negation and it wouldn’t sound too out of place on Summoning the Cataclysm. Azaab similarly melds melody and technicality to create something that’s not just approachable but slickly layered. As a listener you’ll hardly notice all the unpacking you’re doing here.
The fun I had listening to Summoning the Cataclysm was immediate but I feel as if I am only beginning to appreciate this record, even after a dozen or so listens. It is deftly dense. A sonic wallop. And I am looking forward to seeing its final form.