Tales Of Avalon:The Lament
Released: 2016, Scarlet Records
In the music industry there is a difference between a reissue and an album that has been licensed to another territory, despite the end result being almost the same. A reissue is a pressing of an album that was previously widely available in multiple markets and/or territories. A licensing deal is when another record label outside of the territory in which the album was originally released, presses a version of the album. The most recent Dark Avenger release, TALES OF AVALON: THE LAMENT falls into the second category. I’ll explain why.
TALES OF AVALON: THE LAMENT is actually Part 2 of a pair of conceptual albums about the tales of King Arthur. It is the follow-up to the album TALES OF AVALON: THE TERROR released on Megahard way back in 2001. It was 12 years between albums! This album (THE LAMENT) was originally released in 2013 on the relatively obscure label, Voice Records. To be honest I was only vaguely aware of Voice Records and somehow I missed the bands reunion, which is odd because I try to follow this stuff quite closely. I actually bought the bands debut back in 1995 when I was on my eternal quest to find good Metal from around the globe, but somehow the reunion of Dark Avenger and this album passed me by. So, in June of 2016, the Italian label Scarlet Records has licensed the album for release in Europe and North America so it finally hit my radar. It all seems rather confusing but somewhat cosmopolitan to have a Canadian writing a review of a Brazilian band doing a largely Germanic style of Power Metal on an Italian label releasing an album about English mythology.
Since this is the first review of a Dark Avenger album for Metal-Rules, a bit of background is in order. The band first appeared on the scene during the global resurgence of Power Metal spearheaded by Hammerfall, back in the mid to late 90’s. The band has sat in the second tier of Brazilian Power Metal bands, not as highly-rated as Viper, Angra, or more recently Soulspell but they fall nicely in line with bands like Dragonheart, Steel Warrior and so on. TALES OF AVALON: THE LAMENT is the bands third album.
A dozen years between albums is along time and as expected there were some big changes in the line-up. In fact there was a complete and total line-up overhaul, the band cut down from a six-piece to a quintet. Everyone who played on TALES OF AVALON:THE TERROR is gone and the band is lead by the only remaining original member, vocalist Mario Linhares. In a confusing story of a revolving roster, many members came and rejoined including original guitarist Leonel Valdez. The 11-song album runs for about an hour and has a very intriguing cover as well.
After all that trivia and back-story, what does TALES OF AVALON:THE LAMENT actually sound like? Power Metal…plain and simple! A sophisticated and experienced listener could identify some of the characteristics of the Brazilian Power Metal sound, which are certainly in evidence here. AS to be expected perhaps the album is epic in many senses, it starts with a choral chant and some organ music, not unlike what you might hear on a Manowar ballad. There are little additional flourishes on the songs such as the harpsichord-sounding introduction to the song, ‘Stronger Than Death’. There are many orchestral background sounds, acoustic guitar and some sound effects all of which really contribute to the atmospheric tale. All the extras are nice but the album is Metal! It is loaded with great riffs, soaring vocals, and more. On tracks the band dispense with the atmospheric stuff and just let it rip, like on the song, ‘Sicorax Scream’ which is a pounding Metal tune that opens with a mighty scream and a relentless pace. ‘Doomsday’s Night’ is also another fast aggressive track. THE LAMENT is well balanced and carries a good sense of tone, tempo and pace as it matches the epic tale.
At first I questioned why Scarlet Records would choose the summer of 2016 to reissue an admittedly fairly obscure album, but then it hit me. It is partly because the band and Scarlet Records have a long-standing relationship because the label licensed the debut and issued in back in 2000 but more importantly, Dark Avenger have just released a new, full length studio album called THE BELOVED BONES:HELL. With all this activity for the rejuvenated band, with two albums being issued in the same year just months apart, now is the time to check out this excellent band. Hail to Scarlet Records for making this gem available to a wider audience!