Azoria – Seasons Change
Reviewed by Christopher Foley
This is the debut full-length from Swedish upstarts Azoria, featuring some guys you may well recognize from ReinXeed, as well as a swathe of guest vocalists featuring Tommy ReinXeed himself, Crystal Eyes’ Mikael Dahl, the inimitable Snowy Shaw, and everyman Mike Andersson. I’m not usually big on these multi-singer albums, and tend to find them off-putting outside of some prime examples (early Avantasia, Ayreon, Signum Regis). It’s a shame that Azoria lives up to my usually low expectations for this type of fare, and they unfortunately have the distinction of releasing some of the most generic power metal I’ve ever heard.
This is just so by the book and so unspectacular to the point where I find it hard to believe some of the guests were interested in the material. To each their own I guess, and I loathe having to come across as the bad guy here. I wanted this to be cool because I love Swedish power metal and I’m a big fan of Mikael Dahl, but the songwriting is really poor across the board. Everything from guitar riffs to vocal lines fail to inspire me, and hell, even Tommy ReinXeed, who is usually the picture of power metal endearment, sounds shaky on Seasons Change.
I’m struggling to find redeeming features with this one, I guess “To The Land Of Glory” is a passable number and the title track is okay, but really: passable and okay?, is that worth the price of admission? I don’t think so, you can hire as many good singers as you like: if the material is half baked at best, then no amount of Mike Andersson or Tommy ReinXeed is going to save it.
The majority of the album is very much in the vein of Stratovarius as they were dwindling in the twilight of their Timo Tolkki days. Very formulaic, with minimal effort put into creating exciting guitar lines, melodies, or progression, and just applying by the book, dinky guitar leads, stolid drum patterns, and wandering, palm muted rhythms. At least there isn’t an overblown pseudo-epic to send me to sleep. In terms of vocals, I’m very disappointed, as I hinted at earlier, and really outside of “Love It Loud” and “When You Sleep” I’ve found little to inspire, pierce, or catch on to.
There was potential for this to be an exciting release, but the end result is far from it. Seasons Change feels completely phoned in, and is regrettably starved in the way of any redeeming factors. There’s no reason to hear this unless you have a penchant for generic power metal. Certainly not Skylark levels of bad, but I can assure you I won’t listen to this again in a hurry. Poor form.
2.0 // 5