Avdagata
The Faceless One

As I stated in my review of Drama Noir‘s Night Fall Upon the Asylum review earlier this week, there are two symphonic black metal releases vying for my attention right now.

And while the aptly named Drama Noir delivered a solid, bombastic symphonic black metal album, in the vein of Dimmu Borgir and such, Swedens Avdagata (‘put to death’) has a little different approach that belies their Swedish roots and the ties of the band members and guest members that appear on The Faceless One.

With a trio of members with links to bands like Dark Funeral, Night Crowned, Nightrage, Still I Wither, and Entrails, Avdagata has a more 90s melodic death/black metal vibe. A vibe bolstered some guest appearances by Chris Amott (Dark Tranquillity, ex-Arch Enemy), Dean Paul Arnold (ex-Hate, Belphegor) and Patrik Gardberg (Solution .45), as well as some well-used keyboards to add a more epic element.

Naglfar or Mork Gryning came to mind quite a bit while listening to the often blistering 9 song, 40-minute affair, though certainly, the keyboards add the expected symphonic Dimmu Borgir hue here and there as well, though this is a little more tightly wound, vicious and blackened/death metal based, especially the gruffer vocals of founder Sebb Drago (Avsmak, Kythrone, ex-Sworn).

The 9 songs are all high energy, excellently produced, and hit the spot, especially the trio of personal favorites “Purifying Flame”, “Core ov Chaos” and “Invocation” with its burly militant pace. “Shimmering Black” adds some surprising female vocals out of nowhere, and a piano solo, that adds some elegance to the up-until-now, pretty face-ripping proceedings.

And speaking of face-ripping, the closing trio is indeed that. The de facto title track ” I Am the Faceless One”, is an absolute beast of a track, while “Noxifer” and more melodic  “Cor Aur Mors” could easily be Naglfar tracks with slicing melodies that end the album with deadly precision and make it a must-have for fans of the genre.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
July 14th, 2023

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