Released: 2014, Code 666
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
I can’t really say I was expecting too much from a band names RISE OF AVERNUS, it’s one of those names that you immediately pass on hearing, bringing up images a little too close to towering gothic castles and vengeful demonic mistresses. While it may be unfair to judge an album by it’s cover, or a band by their name, when researching the name it is bathed in cliché. Avernus itself was the name for a crater near Naples, Italy, thought to be the gateway to hell, which because of this has come to mean the underworld. L’Appel du Vide, French for Call of the Void, is their first studio album, following on only a year after their debut release, a self-titled EP.
Like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, this album is an album with a split personality. L’Appel du Vide enticed you in with the dark symphonic passages reminiscent of SEPTIC FLESH, shrieking strings and powerful drums bursts roll on spreading tendrils of misery and malice, while deep, booming guttural vocals bark orders over the top. While one half is dark and brooding, the other side takes the form of tamer clean vocals. Although I’m not opposed to clean female vocals in metal, I really can’t say that I have heard too many inspiring melodic female vocalists over the past few years, and this band is no exception. It’s obvious that female vocalist Cat Guirguis has an exceptional singing voice, but there is a sense that she does not use it to its full potential, with the band opting solely for cliché melody writing rather than using her voice to creating interesting harmonic textures. The inspiration for this seems more firmly rooted in pop metal acts such an EVANESCENCE, which focus on making the voice simply pretty without using any real attempt to explore any real emotion in the part. Compared with the rest of the album, these sections feel placed over or between the other music, removing any kind of flow this album may have had.
It seems with this band they have mastered one of the hardest things in metal, writing a symphonic metal album, crafting songs that sound both menacing and epic, but is let down by lack of integration and sections of generic writing that become increasing more common as the album progresses. This band has, however, made a powerful start and RISE OF AVERNUS are certainly not a band to be taken lightly.
Review by Caitlin Smith