The tail-end of 2013 as well as festive fun saw the return of Italian metallers Avelion with their second EP, Liquid Breathing. Equipped with a new line-up and sound to that which bred their self-released 2011 debut Cold Embrace, the band returns to the fray with a release which raises questions, spawns a few doubts, but at the end of its persuasion offers plenty to get the imagination going and appetite for Avelion’s for their impending future keen.
Merging essences from melodic and alternative metal, progressive and electronic metal, to metalcore and industrial metal, and that is just scratching the surface of the three tracks making up Liquid Breathing, Avelion create a sound and adventure which certainly grips attention and at times has the imagination all fired up. The tracks are undoubtedly impressively crafted even if a tempestuous mix which does not always flow or work as successfully as maybe they could. There is so much going on in songs that it is sometimes hard to grip on to particular aspects or moments and thoughts suggests stripping it back would help the tracks to make an even stronger impact, but then that daring to experiment and stretch things is one of many strong elements which makes the band an intriguing and exciting proposition. You feel though as the quintet of vocalist William Verderi, guitarist Gianmarco Soldi, bassist Mark Reggiani, drummer Damiano Gualtieri, and Oreste Giacomini on keys progress and hone their sound further it will all evolve into something which will intensely satisfy.
Liquid Breath starts things off, the track almost Numanesque in its entrance as a dark industrial/gothic breath is spawned by vocals and keys. The song is soon twisting before the ear though as djent bred riffs splinter the air and a rhythmic enticement rigorously leaps over the senses. The vocals of Verderi are a blend of reserved growling tones and clean melodies which works well predominantly, though at times across the EP a sturdier grizzled delivery was crying out to emerge in his tones even if Soldi provided some solid backing scowls of his own. As the track progresses it employs classically seeded keys, electro urgency, and eventually great welcome hellish vocal groans though they are short lived sadly. The encounter continues to leap and turn with ideas to great effect, the song emerging easily the strongest on the release clad in a thick creative promise of where the band is going.
The following Ain’t No Down makes its arrival with haunting monotone spawned keys almost mischievously teasing the senses before launching sinews and intent through an electronic swagger which could grace any Enter Shikari offering. It is an outstanding start with a potency which is almost lost when the song opens up, though those evocative keys continue to probe and coax within the brewing maelstrom. As its predecessor the track moves through flavours and ideas as if they were pick-a-mix but ultimately makes it work through the more intensive aggressive aspects. The rock pop moments are not as successful for personal tastes, slowing down the power and charge of the song and preventing its full expected explosion but equally the poppy chorus is as anthemic and addictive as you would wish so admittedly those questions and doubts raised are continually countered in some respect. When the track is firing on all imaginative cylinders though it really is an imposing treat but just let-down by the mellower restrained moments but nevertheless it still leaves you wanting to hear more.
The EP is closed by Mechanical Faces, a busy track which aligns melodic rock and industrial metal initially before infusing some hard rock revelry and excellent discord devilry. Though not as impressive as the opener the track feels more complete and in control than certainly the second track, that earlier suggested slight restraint on the want to throw multiples spices and threads of imagination at the song a successful option.
When Avelion is intensively going for the jugular they undeniably are at the top of their emerging game, gripping thoughts and emotions much more tightly and invitingly. It maybe is because the difference between the aggression and melodic tempering shown by the band is so pronounced that the tracks ebb and flow too much at times but as Liquid Breath alone shows when the band gets it right they are a force with the potential to raise real passions, though you would not want them to lose that desire to push their inventive limits either, the element which makes even the less successful songs satisfyingly digestible and heavy in promise.
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