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Album Reviews : Rise of Avernus – Dramatis Personæ

By on March 31, 2015

a1763719402_10It takes a certain knack to compose an orchestral metal album where everything works; never coming off as over the top and pretentious but still having enough impact for it to be a defining part of the overall sound. Fleshgod Apocalypse have, outside of a few tracks, been the perfect example of when the two styles clash in a messy, messy way. Sydney’s Rise of Avernus are the perfect example of the opposite.

Dramatis Personæ opens on one of its heavier notes with the melodeath-tinged onslaught of ”In The Absence of Will…” showing off the power they can create. “Path to Shekinah” mellows things down with both Ben vanVollenhoven and new member Mares Refalaeda showing off their clean vocal skills, with Ben handling both the higher and lower styles with ease. Combine that with the spoken word and growls of Enslaved’s Grutle Kjellson on “Acta Est Fabula” and there’s a myriad of vocal styles on here; whatever suits the moment.

And that’s generally how this EP succeeds. Each member seems to feed of each other, and give breathing room to certain instruments when needed, rather than playing over the top of each other. The drums, bass and guitar work get fancy when it’s their time to shine and then fall back into a supporting rhythm (or out entirely) for something else to take over. In a style of music so focused around emotion and mood, that’s a big factor.

There’s an obvious comparison to Septic Flesh in their overall sound but also in the way that each song sound distinct and has their own purpose. Closer “In Hope We Drown” wouldn’t work in any other position on the track list, it has tribal-esque drumming for heaven’s sake, but the doom-laden piece is a spectacular ending.

It may be under half an hour long but that’s a plus for Dramatis Personæ. There’s a lot to take in, and the smaller flourishes might get lost amongst an hour of material. It’s an EP that rewards repeat listens and that’s always a good sign.

Band: Rise of Avernus
Album: Dramatis Personæ
Genre: Orchestral Death/Doom Metal
Year: 2015
Origin: Sydney, Australia
Label: Code666 Records

Track list:
1. In The Absence of Will…
2. Path to Shekinah
3. Acta Ect Fabula
4. An Alarum of Fate
5. In Hope We Drown


Mitch Booth is the owner, designer and grand overlord of Metal Obsession. In the few seconds of spare time he has outside of this site, he also hosts a metal radio show over on PBS 106.7fm in Melbourne (Australia) and organises shows under the name Untitled Touring. You should follow him on Twitter.