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Rise Of Avernus: Eigengrau

You get the feeling that with an album and two EPs already under their belts it's time for Australia's Rise Of Avernus to take their symphonic death doom promise and begin to really deliver. Comprising singing, guitar playing, orchestration making Ben VanVollenhoven, keyboard playing singer Mares Refalaeda and drumming percussionist Andrew Craig, the trio have set about eking out a niche where their string infused doom is driven by a death sound and subsequently given a more intriguing stance. The twin vocals are a clever move, a wide range of attacks employed depending on exactly what type of atmosphere is most closely called for, whether that be ferocious barks, threatening spoken growls or something just a little less abrasive. The other key element tweaked throughout is whether to have guitars dominate through their deathly grind or to let the symphonic side shine through and set this album's destination. As with so much else on Eigengrau, compromise is the middle ground settled on, but this is no halfway house, no rudderless ship avoiding for the most part being compromise for the sake of it. Instead the likes of "Eigenlicht" covers vast swathes of ground, deep, threatening and yet still hitting bright notes and incorporating more than enough melody to snag the ear of those not usually turned by this style.

There's also a deep foreboding nature about much of what can be found on this sophomore full length release, "Mimicry" utilising a well crafted mix of this album's strongest death stylings and combining them to possibly the strongest and most tension building symphonic exploits. With off kilter piano also sparking off the chugging riffs, it's here that Rise Of Avernus seem at their best and also at their most individual. Conversely it's possible to suggest that "Into Aetherium" shows the less convincing side of the doom/death/symphonic stand off, each style seemingly given its own section of the song to come to the fore, the lesson from before that this band are at their best when those elements are seamlessly combined, eschewed for an all too obvious approach. Thankfully it isn't a trap too often fallen into, opening cut "Terminus" and likewise "Gehenna" much more natural sounding and more diverse as a result.

Does Eigengrau find Rise Of Avernus realising their early promise and striding out purposefully as genre leaders? The honest answer is nearly but not quite. However this is still one of the best albums I've heard in this style for some time and one that will continue to draw me back into the intricate webs this band so often weave.

Track Listing
1. Terminus
2. Ad Infinitum
3. Gehenna
4. Eigenlicht
5. Tempest
6. Forged in Eidolon
7. Mimicry
8. Into Aetherium

Added: January 15th 2018
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Rise Of Avernus on bandcamp
Hits: 1132
Language: english

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