Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Avelion - Cold Embrace (EP) (2011)

The world of metal music can't always been doom and gloom, thrash and crash. Sometimes you need something to give you hope, something to convince you to drag yourself out of bed for another day in the daily grind. Italy's Avelion, who feature in their ranks Pursuing The End drummer Alessio Massimo, have the cure for what ails you. High speed guitars, dynamic keyboard melodies and soaring vocals await you. With their own take on European power metal, this six piece are sure to inject a little fire into "Cold Embrace."

Wasting no time, the band launch themselves into the album's title track. There is a strong keyboard presence, providing the melody that the track grows from. Lightning fast notes move up and down the scales, supported by a battery of drums. The guitars, both rhythm and lead, are expertly played, giving pace and power to each passing measure. Vocalist William Verderi has all of the power and potential of some of the genres shining stars, with his passages adding an extra layer to the song. The solo portion gives you a blitz of everything, with guitars trading jabs with keyboards. The two dart seamlessly in and out of one another, sharing the spotlight. If the first track was the appetizer, "Immortals' Light" is a main course to be reckoned with. The keyboards are the clear star, hammering out melody after melody that is certain to stir some heat in your deepest reaches. The high octane guitar riffs only drive the tempo further, surrounded by a hurricane of snares and cymbals, and a rolling thunder of double kicks. The dueling guitar and keyboard harmony in the breakdown is dazzling, taking the track to a rousing conclusion.

No power metal album would be complete without the emotionally charged ballad. Avelion are no different, offering the lighter inducing "Bright Angel." Verderi holds his own, though his voice seems far too restrained at times. You may fin yourself waiting for him to unleash a flurry of higher range notes, something that never comes to be. But once again, keys and chords rule all, choosing to go against the norm and provide some more intricate work to offset the somber vocals. Not to be slowed for long, the album comes to a stirring conclusion with the amped up "Follow Me." You won't find any sappy exchanges here, with the band going full speed ahead. The keyboards bring to mind the best the power metal genre has to offer, layering each piece on top of the last. The drums are relentless, pounding and pulsing throughout the track. A softly spoken interlude leads to a wailing guitar solo, one that may warrant multiple listens right away.

It takes a lot to get to the top of the mountain, regardless of what genre you partake in (Minus pop. That shit just seems to easy). Avelion have four songs under their belt, which is a mere fraction of what their career will produce. They have all the tools, all the skills to make the climb. With a little more time, a new full length album, and some unrestrained vocals, they could find themselves at the top, looking down. And while "Cold Embrace" might not have supplanted the likes of Stratovarius, Rhapsody and Blind Guardian, it may be enough to send a single chill up their spines.


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