I’m not going to dwell on this, but Australia isn’t really regarded as a hot bed of metal… well certainly not as much as the likes of pockets of Europe etc, but that’s not to say that there isn’t a great selection of genres covered by our Antipodean cousins: Pegazus, Parkway Drive, Destroyer666, The Berzerker and some popular rock band whose name escapes me at this point… 😛
And so it is with great surprise and delight to discover Rise of Avernus – not because they are from Oz, but just to have simply discovered them for what they are – a great melodic, and dare is say it, progressive Death/Doom Metal band. Calling the band Death Metal though may actually be doing them a disservice, as there are as many orchestral passages as there are grinding elements, in fact, the music is far more heavily weighted toward the progressive.
Based in Sydney, and with an EP already under their belts, the guys have toured with big names already in their native lands, including Apoloyptica, Mnemic and Enslaved and are due to go out on the road with Septic Flesh and Fleshgod Apocalypse, and “L’appel du Vide” sees this as their first full length release on Code666 records.
“The Triptych Journey” begins with the expected brooding, atmospheric intro, but once the drumming starts with its pounding rhythms, it isn’t long before the very well judged orchestration overlays a racy guitar riff. Deep, guttural vocal delivery sets the tone really well, and the track then opens up to allow the almost angelic voice of Cat to shine though. Its a slow burning track, and sweeps though many a melodic landscape until it ends with all the individual elements coming together and leading into the more bombastic “The Mire”, as it picks up the pace and the brings out chugging riffs and industrial samples, the combination of the two vocal styles melding really well, especially when both exclaiming “No soul can hear their cries!”.
The early parts of “Disenchanted” showcases some simple, yet very effective piano playing and Cat’s melancholic vocals, until the raucous My Dying Bride-esque doom crushes you again! Serpentine twisting and time changes litter the rest of the track, keeping you enthralled at the juxtaposition between the light and dark elements on show.
The quick interlude of “L’appel du Vide” blends seamlessly in to “Ethereal Blindness” which has more than a passing Paradise Lost vibe about it but also highlighted with interesting string arrangements and some lovely bass work. “Embrace the Madness” brings the pace right back down with its ballad-like styling, but again, throwing all convention out of the window, how about a bit of jazz saxophone to blindside you? I have to admit, i wasn’t sure it worked at first, but after many repeat listens i can assure you it does!
So after the last thought-provoking track, “Ad Somnium” comes as a sharp shock with its blast-beats, double bass drumming and growling. Sharing more with Dimmu Borgir than any other previous mentioned band. It does have brief respite right in the middle of the track, but it ends with panic stricken strings over rousing battle cries. Good stuff.
And so its left to “As Soulness Recedes” to close the album, and im not going sit on the fence with this, but go out on a limb and say its without a doubt one of my favourite songs in years. Its staggeringly beautiful. While I’ve praised Cat’s melodic vocal ability already, its Ben that now shines with some really soulful, clean delivery. A stark and warming contrast to his “usual” style. Add to this, wonderfully simple, bright, picked chords and a hypnotic bass and drum pattern, its something you can happily become lost in… Until… BANG! The bombastic orchestra, gruff vocals and power-chords floor you.
“The splendor fades away…” exclaims Ben. Indeed. And so i simply hit the repeat button to bring it back! “L’appel du Vide” is a fascinating, mature and very rewarding album, and one that i still struggle to believe is a debut, and i cant wait to see what these guys do next. The most disappointing element about all this, is that its unlikely i’ll get to witness the splendor live. Damn! But i think its safe to say that there is a very good chance you’ll see this in my year end polls!It’ll take some