RISE OF AVERNUS
‘L’Appel Du Vide’
(Code666, December 2013)
The debut album from Rise Of Avernus, a prog-doom outfit from Sydney, Australia, is gloriously epic. It features colossal guitars, ambitious, intricate song arrangements and bold instrumental experimentation. Bells and whistles, quite literally. From the off, the influence of Dimmu Borgir comes through strongly, and it’s clear that these guys also love Paradise Lost and Opeth. With maybe a sprinkle of Barren Earth or Amorphis. In short, Rise Of Avernus expertly marry the sorrowful with the spectacular.
There are moments of breathtakingly powerful metal, some passages are like riding through the midnight sky on the back of a dragon – dark, exhilarating, terrifying. The songs change direction frequently, taking you on an adventure into the unexpected. Sometimes they stop-start once too often, and the continuity stutters, but you’ll be too engrossed to really care.
Somehow, Rise Of Avernus manage to make it all work, incorporating their unique brand of madness into a unified and polished package of thoughtfully melodic music. Ironically, the song ‘Embrace The Mayhem’ is one of the more straightforward, linear arrangements on offer, at least until the saxophone appears, at which point any remaining pre-conceptions are entirely abandoned. These Aussies are not afraid to go off on a tangent, breaking out the violins or launching into a few bars of folk metal at will.
Rise Of Avernus have two singers. One angelic, delicate and female. The other big, guttural and male. Their voices interweave like mating serpents, although with so many musical elements clammering for attention, they are occasionally overwhelmed in the mix. One minute Cat Guirguis’s voice is reminiscent of Kate Bush, the next it sounds almost Middle Eastern, creating some spine-tingling ghostly melodies.
Guirguis also handles keyboard duties, which keeps her extremely busy as these and the orchestral arrangements are at the core of the album. The electronic accompaniments are splendidly creative and add a layer of excitement and intrigue throughout the album. Curiously, the only song that doesn’t quite work is the instrumental title track, which has an element of Superbowl montage. A little lightweight, particularly considering the song’s name (translation: ‘Call Of The Void’).
There is no single standout song on ‘L’Appel Du Vide’, but rather every track has something going for it, be it the excellent musicianship, the sheer inventiveness, a moment of beauty from Guirguis or a chorus that soars into the heavens. Following on from their self-titled 2012 EP, Rise Of Avernus have created an impressive album that reveals new secrets with every listen.