If Man is Five – Azraela

…Then the Devil is Six

Not every star who wants to be discovered has to put their dignity and integrity on the line on “American Idol.” Instead of waiting for a golden ticket into the record industry, some musicians actually take the initiative to go out and do it themselves. Take Azraela, the debut from Binghamton, New York’s If Man Is Five. This tight 4-piece has been churning out solid heavy experimental rock since 2002, slowly but steadily building a fan base along the way.With Azraela, we find a band that has grown comfortable challenging stale pop rock while developing their songwriting and craftsmanship. Lead vocalist Angela Timon has possibly one of the most beautifully powerful voices in independent music. And her melodies and harmonies are accomplished without the studio glaze that has become almost omnipresent on the radio.

Any fan of the Pixies can recognize where If Man is Five takes a good deal of influence. But like their indie-rock pioneering forefathers (and mothers), If Man is Five is not content to explore a single musical direction. Timon’s melodic vocals are perfectly counterbalanced by drummer Evan McNamara’s raspy screams and bludgeoning beats. Guitarist Brianna Standish-Salazar and bassist Sara Arsenault switch between raging powerchords and delicately woven melodies. Each song is composed to move from brutality to beauty and back again without sounding too segmented or jarring the listener.

If Man is Five is a raw rebuttal to bands like Evanescence and Garbage, a challenge to throw out the formulas and production tricks and to start writing inspired rock again. As Timon wails on “Hemorrhage,” “I never asked for anything!” Sure enough, this band doesn’t take anything for granted.

By Steve Mangione Posted in Reviews