In a way, it seems like Azure Mortal is the dark side of Swartenbroekx. Ambient, jazz, drones and soundscapes make up this album, but all in a gloomy, kind of eerie, manner. Yet, somehow I'm still reluctant to place this album between my dark ambient collection. There's much more to it, even though 'Waai' and 'Gene Krupa Goes Bananas' are great pieces of dark minimalism. Azure Mortal feels more like a band I would place between Dale Cooper and Bohren.
Other influences I can hear seem to come from Throbbing Gristle, Steve Reich, Nurse With Wound, Angelo Badalamenti, Nils Frahm and so on. So yes, there are a few layers of old industrial, mainly in some of the rhythms, as in the brilliant song 'Deadweight' and the poetic 'Nacht'. There's also a bit of classical music, as in the joyful piano piece, aptly named 'Piano Piece' and even some Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze.
While most dark ambient acts focus on creating deep drones and mystifying atmospheres, 'Duivels' seems to be a collection of songs, varying massively in sound and style. 'Raven' for example is a strange jazz piece, perfectly suited for a David Lynch soundtrack while 'Pro Create' drives on mild techno beats and repetitiveness, somehow bringing Chris and Cosey to mind. Odd but nonetheless very interesting.
In all, this is a highly surprising album, a well-varied one too. I never expected something like this from Dirk Swartenbroekx but I'm very happy this album reached me. I will recommend this to dark ambient fans, even though this goes a lot further and a lot deeper. So check it out and allow yourself to dwell in the wonderful and mysterious world of Azure Mortal. You'll be in for an inspiring journey...