Azusa
Loop of Yesterdays


4.0
excellent

Review

by Dewinged CONTRIBUTOR (106 Reviews)
April 13th, 2020 | 133 replies


Release Date: 04/10/2020 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Extreme metal crash course. Become an expert today!

It’s been a frenetic year and a half for Azusa. The multi-genre metal squad born from the ashes of Norwegian thrash innovators Extol by cousins Christer Espevoll (guitar) and David Husvik (drums) hasn’t stopped working on new material since the release of Heavy Yoke during the dying days of 2018. With Liam Wilson of The Dillinger Escape Plan fame on bass and Elena Zafiriadou of pop act Sea + Air on vocal duties completing the line-up, the four piece presented themselves with a stunning debut, giving birth to a seemingly impossible breed of progressive thrash metal and popgaze that proved the band had something truly special in the bag.

Fans of Azusa didn't have to wait long for a proper follow-up (not to confuse with fans of the Japanese pop singer of the same name, those are still recovering from the shock), but what no one expected is the band stepping up their game in such a short turnaround. Loop of Yesterdays is, at first, a much more complex album. Every aspect of Heavy Yoke has been thoroughly revisited, expanded, stretched and taken to the extreme in this second release. Even if the runtime barely exceeds half an hour, the twelve tracks that comprise this sophomore effort require some mental gymnastics in order to fully extract all its juice, but believe me when I say it’s well worth the effort.

Heavy Yoke was an immediate affair, love at first sight. Elena’s melodies would stick in your mind for days, while Espevoll’s brutal riffs and the staggering work of the rhythm machinery manned by Wilson and Husvik would punch your brain in uncharted places. With Loop of Yesterdays, the feeling is different. This is no easy mode anymore. The songwriting has taken a significant leap forward, introducing post hardcore sections and bending them with jazz chord progressions and dissonant thrash metal bursts. Elena’s screams have definitely improved, although they maintain the same peculiarly gritty texture. As it was the case in Heavy Yoke, it’s in the clean passages where she shines, imprinting Azusa with a sound of its own.

Three kick drum strokes and “Memories of an Old Emotion” rolls in like an enraged bull in a china shop. It’s the perfect bridge between the band’s debut and this last release. The second track, “One Too Many Times”, already shows the ambition and focus the band has in this Loop of Yesterdays. Espevoll’s palm mute acrobatics shred in perfect synch with Wilson’s atomic bass and Husvik’s excellent drum work, showing the band’s next level of chemistry, constantly changing patterns while Elena alternates screams with carefully sculpted harmonies. “Detach” is blessed with probably the sickest riff (and there are many, many riffs on this thing) of the whole album, culminating with Testament’s very own Alex Skolnick’s guest guitar solo, which is slowly faded out as if the song (or the sound engineer) refused to let it go.

These are just the first ten minutes of Loop of Yesterdays, and this time, I won’t spoil the rest. As the title suggests, the album is a spiral down the deepest confines of an infinite hallway of extreme metal relics, where dream-like sequences only serve to veil a band at full throttle through a hall of mirrors. It’s a trip that’s better experienced through more than one visit. When you think you have grasped its essence, it will disappear from your memory like sand through your hands. It is then when it will call to drag you in again, and again, and again, and again…



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user ratings (90)
3.4
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
April 13th 2020


23542 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is growing on me IMMENSELY. Different beast than Heavy Yoke but as good if not better.



Official video for "Monuments": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jQ2oIxRrdlI



Support, buy, listen: https://azusaband.bandcamp.com/album/loop-of-yesterdays

Digging: King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard - L. W.

ian b
April 13th 2020


1662 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

love this, you present this type of project in a way that even listeners who might not typically find this accessible to want to check it out. speaking of, i'm gonna go check this out now, so that's how you know a review has served its main purpose. ghost pos my friend !

Digging: Hospital Bracelet - South Loop Summer

Source
April 13th 2020


18491 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

check schaliach

Wildcardbitchesss
April 13th 2020


4678 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Their first record wasn’t quite as good as I was hoping but you sold me on this. Def gonna check it out

SitarHero
Contributing Reviewer
April 13th 2020


12779 Comments


Great rev bud, of course. Tiny quibble, but the idiom is "bull in a china shop" lol.

ian b
April 13th 2020


1662 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

[2], the word porcelain just fits strangely into that sentence, i would just use the typical version of the idiom or replace it with something of the like.

Darius The Imposter
April 13th 2020


22822 Comments


dude niiice

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
April 13th 2020


23542 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Curse you all lol I know about the China shop expression but I thought I could get away with the use of porcelain (cause I like the word). But ooook I'll change it ;)



And thanks ian!

WatchItExplode
April 13th 2020


8481 Comments


1st impressions were that I enjoyed this more than the last one but now I'm thinking I kind of resent that they're making me work harder

Digging: Squid - Town Centre

trilo
April 13th 2020


3678 Comments


can't stand the screamed vox in this band even tho the riffs rules so i'll pass on this alb but great review mang

Digging: Suffering Hour - The Cyclic Reckoning

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
April 13th 2020


23542 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks dude, her screams are not for everyone, that's for sure.

budgie
April 13th 2020


23935 Comments


is this dream pop

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
April 13th 2020


33224 Comments


azusa, born Azusa Mitsu (満梓) on December 4, 1988 in Amami, Kagoshima, is a Japanese pop singer and a former member of the group Sparkling☆Point Tags: japanese pop female.vocalist singer.songwriter anison anime

no it is not dream pop

Digging: Nick Cave and Warren Ellis - Carnage

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
April 13th 2020


33224 Comments


fuck me this title track is a headspin

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
April 13th 2020


23542 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It is dream pop... Amidst all that thrash and hardcore maelstrom.

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
April 13th 2020


33224 Comments


Rapture Boy just goes, think this is growing on me mid-spin

budgie
April 13th 2020


23935 Comments


where does it go, johnny

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
April 13th 2020


33224 Comments


skull chamber

WatchItExplode
April 13th 2020


8481 Comments


Too late it's gone

I feel that they're struggling to branch off from their core sound

Ashtiel
April 13th 2020


1113 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

loved the hell outta Heavy Yoke and while what little of the pre-release singles I checked out for this didn't exactly have me enthusiastic, the full album comes together pretty well.

and I dunno if it's because I haven't listened to Azusa in a while, but Elena's screams on this are bone-chilling at points. shit.



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