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Rise Of Avernus : Dramatis Personae (EP)

Rise Of Avernus deliver a tight, polished and lushly eclectic release.

I have always had a fondness for EP's, their shorter runtime focusing the key elements of a band's sound into a tight package, without feeling as short and unfulfilling as a single. At 5 tracks and coming in at just under half an hour, the new Rise of Avernus EP 'Dramatis Personae' feels exactly that tight, focused and to the point. It also means I can play it twice in an hour, something that I have done many times since I received it, as I love it!

I do have to admit to some initial scepticism about its Doom credentials, as although the band self describes as Orchestral Death Doom, there is a hell of a lot going on here that means the moments that a real purist would accept as Doom are reasonably few and far between. Large amounts of fast trem-picked-double-kicked riffs, layered with several layers of keyboard orchestration sound more like a less-false Dimmu Borgir rather than anything from the classic Death/Doom scene. Mixed with a reasonable amount of heavy one-note chug riffs that could be from a Deathcore record, and I honestly start to fear being ostracised by tr00-kvlt society by singing its praises.

But then I realise I don't care! 'Dramatis Personae' is thoroughly enjoyable, start to finish, no matter what genre hopping it chooses to employ. This is one of the tightest, slickest and, dare I say, commercial records I have covered during my tenure on the site so far. Despite there always being about 15 instruments vying for my attention at any time, everything always sounds crisp and clear. All the death growls sound thick and meaty, and all the clean vocals, male and female alike are excellently performed and in tune without sounding like far too much autotune has been applied (I detect a hint here and there, but that's the world we live in).

The Doomiest moments probably come in closer 'In Hope We Drown', featuring slower guitar harmonies and Gothic style female vocals. This soon evolves however into a semi-ambient section featuring ethnic percussion and what sounds like a didgeridoo well Rise of Avernus do hail from down under after all! It all ends with a blistering heavy section featuring extremely sinister Gothic chanting from the keyboards. I don't normally go into such depths taking a single song apart and analyzing all it's different sections, but I wanted to highlight the interesting variety taking place throughout this EP. It could be easy for all this to descend into utter chaos, but it never does, instead hopping around all over the place in a perfectly natural way that never seems to stray from what I would call the core Rise of Avernus sound.

If you aren't terrified of vast swathes of orchestral keyboards, completely polished mixes and even the occasional sing-along chorus, give this EP a go. It is unlikely to see a release on tape with 10x photocopied artwork, but it might just get played on mainstream metal radio... in Germany or Scandinavia at least. If you live in Australia, they seem to have supported just about every symphonic metal band of any ilk to come to town, so if you like that kind of thing you might already know them. For the rest of us, with any luck they will make it over here at some point.

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Reviewer's rating: 9.5/10


Tracklist :
1. In The Absence Of Will...
2. Path To Shekinah
3. Acta Est Fabula
4. An Alarum Of Fate
5. In Hope We Drown

Duration : Approx. 29 minutes

Visit the Rise Of Avernus bandpage.

Reviewed on 2015-08-01 by Kris Clayton
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