April Ethereal

Blast beats, aggressive growls, and intensity jump right out of the speakers almost instantly upon inserting Advent into the CD player. But then, out of thin air, we hit a wall and there is acoustic and piano ringing in our ears.

What we have here in April Ethereal is an aggressive, melodic, romantic death/doom metal band – who have borrowed everything (name, album title) from Opeth song titles. Along with the aggression, the other thing that stands out is the raw, almost ‘in the room’ production. With the exception of the keys, you really can ‘hear’ the room at times, which I think is kind of cool. The songs here blend death metal speed, doom metal mood and goth metal’s acoustic and piano accents into what amounts to a very dark record. ‘The First Step Into The Unknown’ is a relentless killer of a track, accented by quick forays into acoustic bliss. ‘The Repose’ begins with folk-like acoustic strumming before diving into a mid-tempo double kick drum riff and more of those throat-straining growls. That is the vocal style of this record. Don’t be fooled by some of the adjectives I’ve used so far. There are no female vocals, and what clean vocals there are, like on ‘Hologram,’ are spoken. The growls are deep, full and rich, which helps to fill out the whole vibe of the music.

Speaking of ‘Hologram’, there are some fantastic acoustic guitar melodies worked into the arrangement and the instrumental section is very melodic. All eight tracks on Advent run together with no silence in between, almost making it sound like one long song. That makes it hard to know when a new song has begun unless you’re watching the counter, but closer repeated listens remedies that. There are more than enough dynamics run throughout this record to accomplish separation. The lyrics are very poetic. They read more like dramatic sonnets than metal lyrics. In opening track ‘Her Silent Cry At Dawn’, it is written, ‘A tear fell on his grave’his soul ended it’s race’silent, lonely, boarded over’covered by the hatred of this world”.

Comparisons to Opeth would not be totally unfounded, but also not totally accurate as April Ethereal still has a ways to go to earn that sort of compliment. But, it is a good record and one that fans of goth-y death metal should dig.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Shawn Pelata
September 11th, 2001


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