posted on 8/2008 By:
South America's record increases to three of three, at least in terms of cool metal bands I've discovered in the last two months. After the ethereal doominess of Mar de Grises and the psychedelic doom of Reino Ermitano, I ran across this demo from Argentinian progressive power metal band Auvernia. The progressive part comes in through some off-time riffs and some complicated patterns but mostly through their sheer bombast, and all of that is overlaid on a rollicking blend of black and thrash and gothic metal with the traditional epic tendencies of power metal.
Now I'll admit that Auvernia sort of had me at the proverbial hello. My interest was instantly piqued as I read the press material and discovered that there was a Queen cover, that particular rock act being my favorite of all time, and then I read further and discovered that that cover was of "The Show Must Go On," that particular song being my second favorite Queen tune of all time. So our mutual taste in great rock bands established, I tossed in the Auvernia disc and proceeded to smile and gleefully bang my head for the next ten tracks or so.
As I mentioned above, most of this is progressive epic power metal, with all the pomp of Blind Guardian and loads of Dimmu Borgir symphonic black metal, some goth/dark-metal interludes and piano flourishes here and there, and a few moments of riffing that borders upon groove thrash. Vocalist Fernando Varela's pipes are suitably soaring, but he alters his approach to match the style of the song, rasping during the blacker parts and flying the falsetto flag during the more powerful moments. Although keyboardist Maxmiliano Vaccaro departed during the recording of Toward Eternity, that instrument is prominent, performed largely by session-man Eric Roldan (although in part by Vaccaro). The keys add atmosphere at times and often take the lead, but thankfully they never overpower the guitars and drums. Performed by Valera in addition to his vocal duties, the guitars are speedy with some tasty melodic lead work. The production is tight, and the performances are spirited.
All in all, a great listen for fans of the melodic epic power metal side of things… Blind Guardian fans take note.
(So how did they do on the Queen cover? Well, not so great, actually, but they'd have to ace it to make me happy, and this one's acceptable but not transcendant, akin to the Blind Guardian cover of “Spread Your Wings.” Much like Paul Rodgers and Hansi Kursch, Varela cannot hope to fill the shoes of the godly Freddie Mercury. Thankfully the rest of the record more than makes up for a by-the-numbers-but-not-as-good cover of a great tune by a legendary band. There’s also a cover of visual kei pioneers X-Japan, but I’m unfamiliar with the original, so I can’t comment much upon it, except to say that it’s a more enjoyable track than the one that I was primarily interested in.)
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