Rating:
8.3
Ava Inferi - Onyx
14 February 2011


01. Onyx
02. The Living End
03. A Portal
04. ((Ghostlights))
05. Majesty
06. The Heathen Island
07. By Candlelight & Mirrors
08. Venice (In Fog)


Portugal has its own dynamics in the atmospheric gothic/doom metal scene, of course every band affiliates more with some of the aforementioned characteristics and I don't place every one of them in the same generic category. To be more precise, Ava Inferi move towards a gothic metal destination while they infuse a doom-driven vibe within their compositions.

Two years have passed since their previous effort and i was really curious what would success Blood Of Bacchus which was good, but not captivating. And it was during the second month of 2011 I received the answer I was hoping for, Onyx. It wasn't only the highly atmospheric and mystical cover artwork which was framing this release that filled me with enthusiasm, it was also the like-minded aesthetic of the music which was pacing hand in hand with the first impression. Mystique, inspiration and charm, that's what I witnessed during the very first listen and with every experience everything was becoming more intense and I could dive deeper into the band's plans. Onyx devours you gently and captures your senses within a hallucination with its eerily beauteous aura. You get the feeling as if you were awake but dreaming in safe waters, when it's like a siren leading you to your doom as the overall ambiance becomes menacing and hostile. And then there's nothing you can do but wallow in your grief.

Gothic rock chords flood with mystery the fertile shores of Onyx with Rune Eriksen and André Sobral cooperating wonderfully together whether they forge some sort of floating riffing or depict a more fragile aura through the echoing melodies and the acoustic ideas. The guitars have to be the first factor in terms of atmosphere, the second one are definitely Carmen's either more ethereal or more operatic interpretation. There are moments she sounds ecstatic and lends an imposing vibe which overruns the compositions and strengthens the unearthly beauty the rest of the band evokes. Like a muse of her age, she entrances the tunes with heart and soul and designates the grandeur of their hidden nature to our mortal ears. I could say that this interpretation enthrones her as one of the most solid and qualified singers in the whole gothic metal scene of the recent years to say the least. Concluding, the rhythm section lends groove to the compositions with their subtle but apparent vibe whereas some samples/effects/keys along with few but to the point Johan Edlund oriented male vocals ("The Living End") complete the circle.

If I had to pick between some bands which I could mention as Ava Inferi's references then I'd say Theatre Of Tragedy due to the ethereal and elegant nature of Onyx and Faith And The Muse due to its mystic atmosphere. Allow me to say that I found some slight but relevant Therion ideas here and there, the beginning of the self-titled track for example and some sparse moments here and there. Yet, as it happens with most of the albums, Onyx isn't faultless, after the first half "Majesty" and "The Heathen Island" don't keep up to the high expectations the previous four songs managed to forge. The band though proves its worth and reclaims the throne through the beauty of the following ending compositions, "By Candlelight And Mirrors" and "Venice In Fog" (awesome title!). Henceforth they revive the grandeur the album possessed, closing it in the most appropriate way.

Nevertheless, despite its small decline which prevents me from recognizing Onyx as a stellar release, it happens to be one of the best gothic metal releases for so poor a year for the genre.

Performance: 10
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Production: 9


Band profile: Ava Inferi
Album: Onyx


 



Written on 06.09.2011 by
DerRozzengarten
"It is myself I have never met, whose face is pasted on the underside of my mind."
More reviews by DerRozzengarten ››



Comments

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Vonpire - 06.09.2011 at 02:47  
Nice Review.

IMO this is their best effort so far.
DerRozzengarten - 06.09.2011 at 02:51  
Written by Vonpire on 06.09.2011 at 02:47

IMO this is their best effort so far.

I feel the same way about this album, if they treat well everything they achieved with Onyx, the next one will hopefully become a masterpiece.
BloodTears - 06.09.2011 at 10:27  
I think they really stepped it up with this album.

And the songs work really well live too.
Merchant of Doom - 06.09.2011 at 12:50  
There are some excellent songs (the opener is great), but overall I found the album rather inconsistent and therefore disappointing. There is too much play-by-numbers "metal" and some is not even metal. Production is great though... would I recommend it it? No. Four good songs do not make an album, I'm afraid. My score would 6.5... if they can raise the bar even higher, the next effort should be great.
R'Vannith - 06.09.2011 at 14:19  
Fantastic album with a wonderful atmosphere. I'd say this and Heavenwood's latest are the best Gothic albums this year, as far as I am aware.
Your review more-or-less expresses my own opinion, I'd have rated it perhaps a little higher though.
My first experience with the band, their previous releases may be worth a look-see
Merchant of Doom - 06.09.2011 at 17:37  
Written by R'Vannith on 06.09.2011 at 14:19

Fantastic album with a wonderful atmosphere. I'd say this and Heavenwood's latest are the best Gothic albums this year, as far as I am aware.
Your review more-or-less expresses my own opinion, I'd have rated it perhaps a little higher though.
My first experience with the band, their previous releases may be worth a look-see


Personally, I think the Heavenwood's latest is far superior. But there you go...
DerRozzengarten - 07.09.2011 at 01:02  
Written by R'Vannith on 06.09.2011 at 14:19

My first experience with the band, their previous releases may be worth a look-see

They're definitely worth your interest despite the fact i personally consider this one their best work to date
Ivor - 07.09.2011 at 14:56  
This album is far more captivating than Heavenwood's album. That one just went past and I have hard time recalling anything outstanding. I've never listened to Ava Inferi before but they did something right with this one. And if it's any indication of a way forward I agree with Rozz that the next one could be a stellar release.

Btw, Rozz, one parallel that you'd probably never draw regarding vocals of Carmen Simões, is that there are times when she sounds really similar to To-Mera's Julie Kiss. Very different bands but in there lie some similarities. I just couldn't help noticing it being a fan of the latter.

I.
DerRozzengarten - 07.09.2011 at 19:55  
Written by Ivor on 07.09.2011 at 14:56


Btw, Rozz, one parallel that you'd probably never draw regarding vocals of Carmen Simões, is that there are times when she sounds really similar to To-Mera's Julie Kiss. Very different bands but in there lie some similarities. I just couldn't help noticing it being a fan of the latter.

I.


And you're right, i know To-Mera only as a name But if i get to listen to them i'll search for the reference
Ivor - 07.09.2011 at 22:04  
Written by DerRozzengarten on 07.09.2011 at 19:55

And you're right, i know To-Mera only as a name But if i get to listen to them i'll search for the reference

Give them a try. I know prog ain't your deal but who knows, you may like them.

I.
BudDa - 09.09.2011 at 16:34  
I like Blood Of Bacchus more. Took me sometime though but I really appreciate the work done on that album. It might be abit monotonous to some and I can see where they are coming from, but the long-undulating, slow, well-thought-through songs just bring me to my kneels everytime i listen to it.
Onyx is abit different and kudos to the band for trying something different
Abattoir - 09.09.2011 at 17:29  
Will check this stuff in short notice...
Evil Chip - 12.09.2011 at 07:32  
Last year was a poor year for the genre too, this sounds more promising.
SinaAzad - 12.09.2011 at 16:50  
This album made me fan of this band ... they know how to make a great , sad atmosphere !
dismaleuphony - 24.12.2011 at 23:35  
After finally getting some serious time to listen to this album, I really like this review on it. "Like a muse of her age, she entrances the tunes with heart and soul and designates the grandeur of their hidden nature to our mortal ears." - What a great line! There is something that transcends time in her singing on this album, and with songs like "Venice (In Fog)," she takes over the atmosphere!

After looking over the gothic releases of 2010 and then to this year, 2011 has turned up more excellent releases, ones that hold so much future listening potential. Thought-provoking lyrics in Onyx as well
Susan - 25.12.2011 at 04:01  
^ I want to "like" dismaleuphony's comment above

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