Ava Inferi – Onyx

Posted on March 29, 2011


Season of Mist



Oh, Dan Swanö. You’ve fronted bands both brilliantly progressive (Edge of Sanity) and brilliantly primitive (Bloodbath), worked with one of the most consistently excellent acts in extreme music (Opeth)…and now this? Granted, you’ve shown your penchant for gothic aesthetics manning the boards on Katatonia’s early work, but those were non-frilly, dark ‘n’ gritty jams made for cold, dark nights in the woods.

Ava Inferi play the sort of gothic metal that was blaring in every Hot Topic around America about five years ago. It’s all the melodrama of My Dying Bride without the sweet British accent and dreary atmosphere. Which pretty much leaves us with the typical chick vocalist singing in operatic registers and some pedestrian doom chugging.

I’d like to amend the statement about female vocalists in my previous review, because Carmen Simões’ massive range can’t save the majority of Onyx. The problem isn’t that the songs are offensively horrible it’s that everything is so damn forgettable. Onyx has gone through numerous rotations and I’m still struggling to recall any of it when its runtime expires, which is a shame, because there’s some passable metal to be found here. “A Portal” sports a soaring chorus reminiscent of those halcyon days when The Gathering were the best female-fronted heavy band on planet, and “By Candlelight & Mirrors” is a cool little rocker set to a Cathedral-paced stomp, but that’s just it: the few positive moments on Onyx sound like a multitude of other bands who did the material better. A song like “The Living End” just sort of shuffles along with the same crunchy chords echoing for its seven minutes. The goal of doom is to warp the listeners’ concept of time, not make them conscious of it. It’s a shame you couldn’t impart that wisdom, Mr. Swanö.


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