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Azylya - Sweet Cerebral Destruction
CD Reviews
Written by Doctor T.   
Friday, 26 April 2013
Azylya CD Review
Sweet Cerebral Destruction
Azylya - Sweet Cerebral Destruction

CD Info


WormholeDeath Release 
 10 Tracks

English & Latin Lyrics

In the days of my youth, I was a practicing psychologist, mainly doing group dynamics counseling, in support of more advanced board certified clinical psychologists. I only had a couple Masters Degrees; you need the Ph.D or the M.D. to run the show. I got the Ph.D later, but in another area, so, my clinical experiences were down in the trenches, doing the dirty work, in some less than uplifting environments. Until you’ve visited the rubber room at the funny farm, in all it’s glorious wonder and enlightenment, you really haven’t been around. You always hear that the inmates in the asylum are actually the only sane people in the joint. Well, don’t count on it, unless your perspective on reality is a lot broader than mine. That’s not to say you don’t find the occasional visitor from the outer edge that has a somewhat interesting perspective on the game of life, you do. But, for the most part, these people are not working the same psychological terrain as the rest of us. They may have gotten there a lot of ways, there can be a lot of interesting stories, life can play some really fookin’ lame games with us. But, trust me, these are quite often not the people you want to bring home to Mom, unless Mom is REALLY willing to experience some interesting approaches to interpersonal openness. I’m not making value judgments here. No good or bad, we are what we are. I’ve had people look at me a little strangely on more than one occasion. With good reason. But, psychological dysfunction is something I’m somewhat familiar with. . . .and this release is about psychological dysfunction. . . . and it addresses it with some really good music. And some really interesting ideas, most of them of the truly darker variety.

The CD under review here is a fuller interpretation of concepts developed a few years ago in an EP, Thanatos’ Insanity. That EP introduced the band, and their lead singer Jamie-Lee Smit who wrote most of this story, maybe all of it I guess. Jamie-Lee’s a young woman, I’d like to know more about where she came up with this story, it’s a bit profound for a writer of her tender age. But, it’s interesting in several regards and requires us to look at the work from a number of angles. The music is a relatively comfortable interpretation of the B & B Gothic sound. You get solid metal, some nice keyboard based symphonics and the two vocals, both quite good. And, if this is all you’re interested in, you’ll be more than satisfied with the material. Jamie-Lee isn’t an operatic vocal but she’s solid, with a lot of background in the industry, she knows her way around a vocal delivery. The male vocal, the death vocal, is sung by a guest vocalist, Yohann, and he’s more than adequate, especially given the dark lines he’s asked to present.

A rough recounting of the story goes something like this. Our troubled youngster, one Ginger Dawkins, has been taken to the Azylya Mental Asylum for treatment; she’s 7 years of age. Her mother has passed away, her father is something less than the perfect role model for the job and there is strong suspicion regarding unsavory acts towards his young daughter. At a minimum, he’s reported as being "violent and abusive". Another way of saying he’s a pedophile. He splits the scene one step ahead of the constable, leaving our young heroine to her own devices. Not being up to the task psychologically, financially or in any other way, she is assigned living quarters within the charming environs of Azylya. The clinical assessment says, "Ginger refuses to let go of her toy puppet, since her mother died. Very much introvert and on herself." The pathology report suggests Ginger suffers from schizophrenic behavior. The report finally concludes with the notation that she has "disappeared" with no further information available. Another lost soul in the cold world, one with no apparent capability to survive the hopelessness of her surroundings, in any way.

Well, the music talks about things from the perspective of the child in the asylum. And, it ain’t a pretty picture. The child speaks from the disillusioned perspective of a tortured being in a maniacal world, her thoughts frequently interrupted by the intrusion of her even less psychologically sound father. And this narrative is the lyrical composition of the CD. It sure takes me back to those exciting times behind the walls and bars, where reality was little more than an occasional visitor. I didn’t work with many children, but they’re the hardest, the most heartrending. And, I never worked with anything like this. And these events are said to have taken place in the early 20th century, you can just imagine what conditions were like in an insane asylum back then.

The first 5 tracks are taken from the EP, a little different in terms of presentation but pretty much the same material. They introduce the topic, establish the musical terrain. We get a haunting introduction, At the Beginning, to let us know we’re entering territory a little out of the ordinary. The next 4 tracks talk about the insanity that drives this material. We get some discussion on the topic of incest, we get some comments on the injustice that has driven our young victim to the insanity that drives her world. And, with Azylya, we address the environment, the child screams for recognition:

Living tombs empty souls / A mad world out of time
This Humanity is a sad world / Living tombs empty souls
My life. . .save my life

The next 5 tracks are new, but they carry on the horror we found with the EP. They come with interesting titles: Within My Cell, Electroconvulsive, Death of Oedipal Love, Darkness Ascending and Rise of the Wicked (La revolte des Fous). All we need is a track called Fun with Thorazine to make the concept complete. But we do get some slightly different sounds with these 5 new additions. Within My Cell starts with a stronger symphonic, and carries it through the song. Lyrically, we are told about the past, the "good old days" when things were normal, when there was hope. Jamie-Lee seems to have a vocal quality that captures this desperation, this pain that only a child can experience. And, the symphonics reinforce this darkness, even as the guitars crash and the drums pound.

Electroconvulsive has to be the first time I ever heard this concept addressed musically. We don’t do this kind of treatment much these days, better drugs available, doncha know. But, it’s the positioning of something this horrible against the idea of a young child that drives this one in disturbing directions. It begins again with that soft background sound, but evolves into a throbbing metal scream of pain.

The male vocal threatens:

Now you shall be turned insane / We’ll tear your soul apart
Or you’ll live on in searing pain
The child responds: 

Who is killing the sun / Who’s leaving my head?
Who devours my soul? / Me and my (other) me?

Most popular media, TV, movies, ends with a positive note, good guys win, bad guys get whacked. We all go home happy, what’s in the fridge ma? Sorry, not here. This one takes us all the way down. Hope is on another channel, this one’s for the folks who want to investigate the other alternative, and there’s always another alternative. Darkness Ascending tells us:

We will change you / change your mind / We will destroy
Hunting evil in you / In the name of the Lord
In the name of the Lord
Dei ora pro ea
Lorem ipsum dolor vias

The Latin that introduces and concludes the track is done with a classical choir, a perfect inclusion to the lament.

If you’re looking for uplifting music, look elsewhere. It doesn’t get much darker than this. But, the music is as good as anything we’re likely to want for this purpose. In live performance Azylya seems to work with some of the best from Western Europe. This release can’t do anything but increase their visibility, and their reputation. A must see. A must listen.

9.5 / 10

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