Polarities. When harnessed in just the right way schisms can and do make many things stronger. Take the musical arrangements on the first full-length L.P. by Sydney’s Rise Of Avernus as an example. The genre is progressive doom metal, however, the despair communicated isn’t totally without light as Ben Vanvollenhoven works through the lyrics and accepts his lot in an artistic sense. This lightens the song because his acknowledgment of weakness and desperation creates some power and control. There is an implied philosophy in the music.
Then there is the opposition of voice. Vanvollenhoven is a vessel from which demonic growls slosh over the rim while Catherine (cat) Guirguis calls like a siren. Guirguis entrances with her melodic, classical-influenced melodies. Her sound enrobes and lulls listeners into fuzzy despondency, but just as everyone is about to be comfortably hypnotized Vanvollenhoven jumps in and Lucifer himself shakes our reverie.
The tracks incorporate various twists and turns, and like all good progressive metal, a journey is taken within the song as well as when we consider the whole album. Take the opening track “A Triptych Journey” as an example. We know that there will be three segments to the piece, whether it be three parts to the tale or to the musical score, the album, or ‘all of the above. The song begins urgently, with drumbeats thunderously signaling a battle of sorts, then orchestral playing heralds the singsong duologue between Guirguis and Vanvollenhoven. Again we have the opposition of darkness and light, as played out in the vocal styles and the changing melodies and tempos.
The title track beautifully encompasses a single violin, snare drums, gong, and piano. The only jarring instrument is the saxophone on “Embrace The Mayhem”, but perhaps that’s just because of its unorthodoxy.
L’Appel Du Vide – The call of the void is loud. We are compelled to jump from the highest peaks into the unknown because we do not wish to spend our lives strolling on plains. Human beings are curious creatures. At points in our existence, we play it safe, and at other times the darkness calls and very jaggedly we collide with our own strengths and fallibilities and finally live life as it’s supposed to be lived. L’Appel Du Vide is a voyeur’s look at the disparate and desperate sides of humanity.
Rise Of Avernus: Facebook
Release Year: 2013
Reviewed by Sharon Brookes