Rise of Avernus – Dramatis Personæ EP (Code666)

Thursday, 5th March 2015
Rating: 7.5/10

Caught somewhere between the worlds of cold British doom and colder Norwegian black metal would be Australia’s Rise of Avernus. Formed in 2011, the Aussies have a full-length and two EPs to their credit, the latter being the five-song Dramatis Personæ, their first release for Code666. The band doesn’t appear to be much in a hurry to exploit either of the aforementioned styles, tugging along with broad brushes of deep, voluminous riffing (doom), and chord-laden action (black metal) that purveys the one element of their sound that should be exploited further: atmosphere.

The band has the male/female vocal thing going, although the female vocals (courtesy of keyboardist Mares Refalæða) are largely left in the back, only to make their presence known on “An Alarum of Fate.” So for the most part, it’s main dude Ben Vanvollenhoven and his burly, aggro-gruff vocals doing most of the heavy lifting, of which are in long supply on the brutish “Path to Shekinah” and “In Hope We Drown.” In terms of where the band’s riffs fall, think of the nether regions of early 00’s Borknagar and pre-progressive Enslaved, of which are readily apparent on would-be tone-setter (and opening track) “In the Absence of Will.”

Dramatis Personæ may be considered as an EP, but it’s relatively full and all-encompassing nature gives the feel of a full-length. (It is 29 minutes after all, a length certain segments of bands would be happy with.) As noted, they’re not quite there in terms of development, bypassing the option of going for the throat with some real atmospheric and/or melodic swindles. Probably saving ’em for next time.

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