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Rise Of Avernus: L'Appel Du Vide

Resigned and gloriously refined gothic doom

At first L’Appel Du Vide seems a throwback to the mid-90s weepy Eurogoth doom of bands like Tristania, On Thorns I Lay and Theatre Of Tragedy – all swirly typeface and faux-symphonic beauty-and-the-beast melodrama. However, with repeated spins this Australian quintet’s debut reveals itself as more carefully crafted, tasteful and distinctive than most albums in this field ever were.

A Triptych Journey establishes a sound grasp of slow-death dynamics, the orchestral arrangements immediately far brasher and more involved than the usual tinkly sonic tinsel. The blacker strains of The Mire are festooned with lavish strings and attacking trumpets, which then give way to a Berlin nightclub waltz. Disenchanted brings back fond memories of early 3rd And The Mortal (until the monastic croak and sprightly twin-guitar harmonies), while Embrace The Mayhem makes good use of jazzy saxophone.

In the closing epic As Soleness Recedes, blastbeats co-exist with flute solos, vigorous death growls with floaty chanteuse melodies, but it’s done with elegance, skill and a persuasive breadth of scope. There’s some strong, well-arranged atmospheric material here that belies the short time Rise Of Avernus have been together; at certain points you can definitely imagine Bal-Sagoth, Opeth or My Dying Bride going green with envy.

Chris has been writing about heavy metal since 2000, specialising in true/cult/epic/power/trad/NWOBHM and doom metal at now-defunct extreme music magazine Terrorizer. Since joining the Metal Hammer famileh in 2010 he developed a parallel career in kids' TV, winning a Writer's Guild of Great Britain Award for BBC1 series Little Howard's Big Question as well as writing episodes of Danger Mouse, Horrible Histories, Dennis & Gnasher Unleashed and The Furchester Hotel. His hobbies include drumming (slowly), exploring ancient woodland and watching ancient sitcoms.