From the metal bred heart of Italy: Avoral

Avoral_RingMaster Review

Earlier this year, Underground Metal Alliance released their 2015 compilation of the best independent and striking band from the Italian metal scene. It was an impressive encounter insight to the underground scene in Italy and introduction to a host of imagination and invention fuelled bands. Once such proposition was Milan based epic metallers Avoral, a quintet creating a sound as inciting for ears as it is for the imagination. The first of a series of interviews we caught up with bassist Bolthorn from the band to explore its origins, debut album, and being part of the thrilling compilation from UMA.

Hello Bolthorn, thanks for talking with us.

As an introduction can you give us some background you all and how the band came together?

Hi to you and thanx for your interest!

Avoral were born in 2012, after many circumstances and line-up changes, from the merger of previous power-epic metal projects with Ged (lead guitar), Legion (rhythm guitar) and Frank (vocals) and the meeting with Bolthorn (bass) and Nurgan (drums) who came from a symphonic black metal project.

In 2014 we signed with Club Inferno, a division of My Kingdom Music, historical Italian label, and released our first full length album War Is Not Over

For newcomers can you provide a break-down of your diverse sound?

We play a particular kind of epic metal, atmospheric and structured but also hinted with other influences and elements coming from other genres, like Viking and black metal, prog, thrash… We let our minds and inspiration fly free on the instruments, not limiting it to the classic clichés of one certain style.

It’s kind of a combination of fast rhythms, atmospheric parts, violent riffs and ballads, all conveyed to an unique musical aim

Avoral4_RingMaster ReviewWhat are the primary inspirations for the band and you as musicians?

We actually listen to a very large range of musical proposals, from Viking and black scene, to prog, folk, gothic, power and epic… Of course we all love Blind Guardian and all that stream, but as said we don’t want to limit ourselves in a unique direction. We just want to be Avoral

You are part of the impressive line-up on the new UMA compilation album. How did you get to be involved with the release?

We already knew UMA before this compilation, we worked with them for other releases and events, but surely when they proposed us to be part of the competition for the UMA Compilation this sounded very interesting to us, for many reasons. The wide and very heterogeneous audience, the way UMA works, the possibility to be involved in a release with other very good bands we also know musically and personally… In other words, we are very happy to be part of it, it is moving quite well in Italy and also outside the national confines.

I assume the choice of song for this kind of release is never an easy decision. What was the reason or spark in choosing the song which features on the release?

It was not an easy choice, actually. The title track of the album is the first song we officially released back in 2014 and it gained many positive reviews and views on the audio streaming sites, therefore this was surely a good way to increase its exposure, but there were also other songs we were considering, like Journey to the Glory (heavier but also dreaming) or I’ll Rise Again (more structured and epic). Anyway, listeners and reviewers who still did not know it liked War Is Not Over and it gave us the possibility to be found out by new people, so we’ re happy with our final choice

With some bands there might be the urge to pick an easy ear friendly option in song to lure new listeners in the kind of opportunity the compilation offered, but I sense, as with all involved on the album, that you went for something which showed the depth and richly varied textures in your music?

Definitely! We’ re not interested in making “easy” music for people to like it, nor any other easy choice to lure higher audience. Of course there is some more relaxed part on the album, but we have a lot of structured and complex parts in our music and decided to show ourselves in a way that could represent its variety as much as possible. Our ideal listeners have to be open minded and not searching for the typical epic metal song/album, if you know what I mean!

Tell us about your current release which people might like to explore off the back of the compilation.Avoral album_RingMaster Review

As you said, War Is Not Over has many varied textures within its songs. It is a concept album and then it narrates different contexts and episodes of the story, therefore it is needed for every song to have its own features and backgrounds, from heavy to theatrical, calm, progressive… For this and other reasons we decided to have some special guest on the album: Maurizio Cardullo (Folkstone) at bagpipes and flutes, Laura Brancorsini (ex Furor Gallico, The Clan) at the violins, Simone Malan (Henderwyd) at the cello, and Davide Valerini (Obsolete Theory) at the hardcore vocals; the guys made an impressive work and it’s been a great pleasure to work with them!

How as a band does the songwriting generally come about?

Story comes first of all. This means that in our concept we all know how the events are flowing and which consequences they will have, so the music has to represent this at its best. Of course we do not meet in our rehearsals room and mechanically say “ok, new chapter will be this so tonight we will compose heavy stuff, while tomorrow slow” and so on, but we convey our music in the direction the story is taking.

Ged usually comes out with the first riffs of a new song, but the process is totally collaborative and everyone can propose new parts or modifications. There is no limit, no boundaries for us, we just let our inspiration flow free

What inspired the lyrical side of your songs and indeed War Is Not Over?

As a concept album, lyrics are all focused on a certain story, close to the epic and fantasy literature (also the moniker “Avoral” comes from that). Metaphorically, it is like a trip through the life of our character with all its vicissitudes and problems, struggling to find a balance to his internal war between good and evil that, as the title says, unlikely will find an end

The compilation suggests that Italian underground metal is on a creative and inventive high right now. How do you find it on the inside and how hard is it for emerging bands to make any headway in attracting attention there?

Emergent metal music in Italy is living a sort of “new era”. While some year ago, most of the bands here used to play the same genres (mostly thrash and death metal) not searching for a real originality in their proposals, in the last couple of years I’ve discovered a great number of bands composing really good and “fresh” music, trying to go beyond the limits and the borders with quite interesting experimentations.

On the other side, problem is that there is a huge number of active bands and together (most of all) with venues and promoters looking for the easiest choice to fill up the clubs on one hand and financial difficulties on the other hand, it is difficult to emerge and you have to work a lot on every aspect of the band, from live shows, to the communication, and image, and so on. Surely if you let it all discourage you easily, it gets harder to have a real chance

Avoral2_RingMaster ReviewWhat is on the near horizon for the band?

We are now working on the sequel of WINO, so far we have composed a couple of new songs, focused on heavier and more progressive elements. Soon we will also get back on the stages after a little break, plus some other interesting news we will reveal you at the right time!

Thanks again, any last words you would like to share?

Thanks to you for the room you gave us! We invite you all to have a look at our pages (Facebook, YouTube, Spotify and so on) and give a listen to our music, hoping to find you at some live show for some –always appreciated- good beer all together!

Lastly give the readers, as a music fan rather than a musician, reasons why they should treat themselves to the UMA album.

I really recommend it. Never forget the importance of emergent bands and compilations, you could find one of your future favourite bands! And UMA Compilation is really good.

Horns up!

Read our review of the UMA Compilation @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2015/06/24/uma-compilation-2015/

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 01/09/2015

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For more exploration of the independent check out http://www.zykotika.com/

VallorcH – Neverfade

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    Neverfade is the debut album from seven strong Italian folk warriors VallorcH, a band which ignites the imagination and passions with their thrilling full-length landscape of muscular defiance and melodic festivities. It is not a release without a few issues but undoubtedly is one drenched in promise and most of all is a thoroughly enjoyable enterprise.

Formed in 2010 by guitarist Marco Munari, guitarist and provider of the vocal growls Matteo Patuelli, and drummer Massimo Benetazzo, VallorcH with the intent to merge death and traditional folk metal was soon expanded by the addition of Demetrio Rampin (bagpipes, whistles and accordion), Sara Tacchetto (vocals, bagpipes), Leonardo Dalla Via (scream and clean vocals, bass), and Francesco Salviato (violin) who before the album left the band to be replaced by Martina Mezzalira. May of last year saw the first release from the band in the well-received shape of the Stories of North EP consisting of five tracks, of which three are revisited on the album. That year also saw the band support the likes of Corvus Corax at Folk Festival in Piacenza swiftly followed by Fosch Fest in Bergamo where the septet opened for artists such as Trollfest, Negura Bunget, Kivimetsan Druidi and Folkstone. As September turned into view the band entered the studio to record Neverfade, with the opportunity to support Arkona on a date of their anniversary tour coming during the recording.

Released earlier this year by Moonlight Records, we always catch up eventually, Neverfade is a captivating encounter which leaves a book5mm_Pagina_01definite hunger and want for more from the band. It does not exactly set down new ventures and examples for folk metal but there is a vibrancy and adventure within the walls of the release and its songs that leave you seduced. It is not perfect by any means but offers plenty that more established and arguably eagerly received releases and artists have been lacking over the past couple of years. Researching for the review it is not hard to notice that a few are coming down hard on the band for coming from Italian and playing Celtic seeded music. As the album impresses it seems a truly trivial complaint, if something is skilled, openly accomplished, and created with passion, as well as sounding damn good as here, there really is no validity in that put down.

The album opens with the brief instrumental Night Fades…, an ok scene setting lead into the album and the excellent Voices Of North. Emerging from the sound of waves breaking upon shore, a guitar unveils a spiral of sonic temptation to heat up the air before being swiftly joined by eager rhythms, driving riffs, and melodic whispers. It is a steady canter straining at its leash to explode whilst being coaxed into greater intensity by the grizzled growls spraying malevolence across the air. It is the vocals of Tacchetto though which takes the lead, her tones instantly appealing if a little less controlled than they could be at times. With Patuelli stirring up the ear with his bear like animosity too it is a potent mix against the energetic melodic fire laying its narrative behind, accordion and whistles especially tantalising and the vocal harmonies later into the song simply delicious.

The very strong start is followed even more potently and impressively by Fialar which is led into view by the short burst of tempting revelry Join The Dance!, its seamless passing into the fourth track unnoticeable such their fluid kinship and union. A torrent of contagious rapacious riffing and rhythmic antagonism joins the party first, another dark and light merger of attention gripping craft, but soon shows restraint as Tacchetto with her finest moment on the album, begins her irresistible tale and delivery. The track switches musically and especially vocally throughout, the heavy scowls and nasty grunts breaking up the festival with the perfect shadows and intimidation. It is an outstanding and inventive song which steals the honours on the album with ease.

Both Endless Hunt and Sylvan Oath stand tall in their effort to match their predecessor, the first with a ravenous hunger to riffs and rhythms courted by entrancing melodic persuasion and all in the shadow of a compelling intensity whilst its successor is an inventive fury of heavy predacious menace. Neither manages to rival the previous song but both leave the appetite alive for more. The production of the second of the pair is not great either especially in regard to Tacchetto’s soprano soaring which is smothered into the background, as are other elements in the track.

The jovial and perky instrumental Störiele makes a refreshing aside for the album before Silence Oblivion steps forward to immediately impress with the excellent vocal union of Tacchetto and the clean tones of Dalla Via. It is a stunning mix which is not used enough on the album and hopefully will be explored more ahead, and as Patuelli riles the air also they make for an equally successful threesome before he dominates the prime attack from there on in, which does disappoints a little. The song is a commanding and provocative encounter which plays with brutality as much as it creates flames of melodic beauty. It is a great track which ebbs and flows a little in successful just missing out on classic status but when it works it is glorious.

Anguana and Leave A Whisper next make for satisfying companions, though both lack some of the spark and imagination to leave fires burning in the passions, whilst The End much like Silence Oblivion has as much to not get on with as it has to ignite ardour with. A marching rhythmic call to arms draws thoughts into its body with ease though the vocals of Tacchetto for once fail to hit the spot, her delivery at times flat and almost distant to the heart of the song. It is not a major problem though as musically the lure and hooks of the song, as well as its melodic toxin is virulent in its infectiousness and colourful persuasion, and the further it stomps into its length the track emerges as another of the bigger highlights on the album, especially its insidious hornet like stinging grooves.

With the more than decent …A New Light Rises completing the release, Neverfade is a richly pleasing album to revel and immerse within. Certainly not flawless as it shows that VallorcH has plenty of room to expand and explore within their creativity, the album is an exciting and appetising adventure to bring a fresh spark to folk metal and fans of the likes of Arkona, Finntroll, and Korpiklaani.

https://www.facebook.com/vallorch

8/10

RingMaster 06/09/2013

 

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