Have you ever heard a band that just screams potential? As in, you can hear inside their music the type of giant in the industry that they could become? Avandra is such a band. With their rich tone and pointed compositions, I can hear a bright future in their music. Their new album, called “Descender”, is releasing on April 26th, and it has plenty of strong moments.
Avandra hails from Puerto Rico. The band consists of Christian on guitars and vocals, Luis Javier Rivera on guitars, Gabriel Alejandro Rodriguez on bass, and Adrián Arroyo on drums. This album also includes guest appearances from Kevin Moore (ex-Dream Theater, Chroma Key, OSI), Richard Henshall (Haken), and percussion programming from Daniel Schwartz (Astronoid).
The music on this record occupies that grey space between progressive rock and prog metal. You will hear plenty of riffing and technical drumming, but you’ll also hear plenty of alternative and progressive rock, a good amount of melody, delicate acoustic portions, and darker atmospherics bordering on melancholy at times. The vocals are low key and quite good, and they add to the shadowy tone of the album.
Now, this album flows quite well, and most of the songs do have memorable choruses. I will say, however, that the album does feel much the same from start to finish. If you really like Katatonia, for example, and the way that their grey music can become monotone (yet still beautiful), then this should not really bother you.
However, I do think it harms this album to some degree when some of the same vocal melodies are recycled on various songs, or when the same crazy finger work on guitars is used as a transition on multiple tracks. The songs start to blend together, and you aren’t really sure where once starts and the next one begins. The overall songwriting is still above average, though; and the vocals are definitely gravy, too, so it never really becomes bothersome because they always sound so smooth.
I have a few favorite songs on this album. “Beyond the Threshold, Parts 1 and 2” starts the album strongly with a quirky yet technical rhythm and a beautiful chorus. You get the full rush and feeling of the album on this opening song. “The Narrowing of Meaning” is a great song with some strong guitar work and one of my favorite choruses on the album. “Even You” has this murky, subtle tone to it that feels like you are floating, and it may be my favorite on the record. “Adder’s Bite”, though, is the most dynamic song on the album. It feels mysterious, regardless of whether it is rocking out or mellowing in existential darkness. It clocks in at just over 13 minutes in length, too, but it honestly doesn’t feel that long.
Overall, this is a strong offering from Avandra. When it is good, it is really, really good. I can definitely see how this band could become the next melancholy master in modern progressive music. All of the components are there, and I think the band will continue maturing and progressing towards that point.
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