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Azar Swan's New Album Is Properly Terrifying

The latest offering from Joshua Strawn and Zohra Atash does away with almost all comfort: "Nonlinear sounds, the rhythm of tyrants, of dimwits.”
Photo by Angelle-Leigh Breaux

If you listened to Azar Swan’s 2014 LP And Blow Us a Kiss and found some solace in Zohra Atash’s pop melodies as they slunk through the industrial clash, then the duo’s new record will scare the shit out of you. Savage Exile, premiering on Noisey today, is the soundtrack to a chilling nightmare. If there’s warmth beneath Atash’s coos and yelps, it’s buried deep beneath layers of icy percussion. It’s claustrophobic, occasionally brutal, and completely relentless.


The record came together while Atash was touring with the apocalyptically heavy metal band A Storm of Light and Azar Swan’s other half, Joshua Strawn, was releasing his first album with his rock band, Vaura. Strawn listened to demos that Atash had made for a new Azar Swan record, experimental bursts of layered noise, and brought in Kris Lapke, who makes music as Alberich, but also sits behind the mixing desk for a lot of releases on the stalwart industrial label Hospital Records, including some of Prurient's most harrowing records. This time, there was less collaboration between Strawn and Atash; the two mostly wrote and performed their own work. But with Lapke’s help, they kept the record steadily uncomfortable.

“Instead of melody, I wanted to use things like the rhythm of speaking, animal noises as anchor and color for the songs,” Atash said in a press release. “Nonlinear sounds, the rhythm of tyrants, of dimwits.”

Listen to Savage Exile below. Wear headphones. Maybe keep the lights on.

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