Ava Inferi - Onyx review



Reviewer:
8.3

87 users:
7.87
Band: Ava Inferi
Album: Onyx
Release date: 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.


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


 



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


Comments

Comments: 16   Visited by: 267 users
06.09.2011 - 02:47
Vonpire
Nice Review.

IMO this is their best effort so far.
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Beware the Shadows of Dusk
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06.09.2011 - 02:51
DerRozzengarten
Odysseus
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.
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Dec. 30, 1334.

...And the whiskey and wine entered our veins when blood was too weak to carry on.
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06.09.2011 - 10:27
BloodTears
ANA-thema
I think they really stepped it up with this album.

And the songs work really well live too.
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Written by BloodTears on 19.08.2011 at 18:29

Like you could kiss my ass.
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06.09.2011 - 12:50
Merchant of Doom
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.
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06.09.2011 - 14:19
R'Vannith
ghedengi
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
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06.09.2011 - 17:37
Merchant of Doom
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...
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07.09.2011 - 01:02
DerRozzengarten
Odysseus
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
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Dec. 30, 1334.

...And the whiskey and wine entered our veins when blood was too weak to carry on.
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07.09.2011 - 14:56
Ivor
Staff
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.
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No friends for playing games
No foes who scorn my name
Computerized machines of steel and rust
/---/
No friends in my house on Mars
No foes in my house on Mars
I was born in my house on Mars
I will die in my house on Mars
-- Ayreon - My House on Mars
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07.09.2011 - 19:55
DerRozzengarten
Odysseus
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
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Dec. 30, 1334.

...And the whiskey and wine entered our veins when blood was too weak to carry on.
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07.09.2011 - 22:04
Ivor
Staff
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.
----
No friends for playing games
No foes who scorn my name
Computerized machines of steel and rust
/---/
No friends in my house on Mars
No foes in my house on Mars
I was born in my house on Mars
I will die in my house on Mars
-- Ayreon - My House on Mars
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09.09.2011 - 16:34
BudDa
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
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Freeze! Step away from the hubris.
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09.09.2011 - 17:29
Abattoir
Will check this stuff in short notice...
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12.09.2011 - 07:32
Evil Chip
Last year was a poor year for the genre too, this sounds more promising.
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12.09.2011 - 16:50
SinaAzad
This album made me fan of this band ... they know how to make a great , sad atmosphere !
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24.12.2011 - 23:35
Jason W.
Razorbliss
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
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"After silence that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music." - Aldous Huxley
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25.12.2011 - 04:01
Susan
Smeghead
^ I want to "like" dismaleuphony's comment above
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"A life all mine
Is what I choose
At the end of my days"
--The Gathering "A Life All Mine" from Souvenirs
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