metal-jazz quintet erzulie’s ‘audiohex’ ep tears it up

November 26, 2018

Time for a little loudness to start the week off right. Chicago’s Erzulie packs a serious punch on their unwieldy titled latest release, AudioHex: Bad Blood Saga EP.

AudioHex: Bad Blood Saga EP by Erzulie

These seven tracks wear their extended run times proudly. Crosafix’s razor-sharp guitar rages beneath GoldGrrl’s vocals, as the singer jumps from pop hooks to death growls to almost operatic swells. Where many bands who bill themselves as some sort of “metal/jazz fusion” fill their “songs” with interminable shows of empty virtuosity, Erzulie burns with a lean intensity. Nowhere is that clearer than on the tight “Children Of a Unwelcome God,” where GoldGrrl turns in the EP’s strongest vocal performance over some deceptively un-simple riffage.

“AudioHex” hits its stride when it slows down with the 1-2 punch of “Panama” and “Gravity.” One song is earthbound, the other is dreaming of the stars, but both find a great balance between the band’s thundering riffs and its melodic explorations. Though the exact plot of the titular Saga might not be totally clear, the emotional journey is. By the time the live acoustic recording of “Douglas Park” rolls around to close things out, it’s a much needed chance to catch your breath. AudioHex is that intense.