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Avariel - The dawn 3.5/5

Reviewed: 4-1-12


1. Bleed
2. Tunnel's light
3. Emotionless
4. Victim
5. Still
6. Especially alone
7. In heaven
8. Dark harbor
9. Phoenix

Avariel is a melodic power metal band from the U.S. and this is their debut studio CD. Their songs are characterized by hooky vocal melodies over rhythmic bombastic power metal riffs, along with occasional short power metal instrumental passages. When they slow things down a bit and add a little guitar melody the songs have a more traditional than power metal feel. Unlike most female vocal power metal bands they make only sparse use of keys for atmosphere, again often giving them a more traditional metal rather than power metal feel.

Their female vocalist, Shannon Kelly, is without question the center-piece of the band, at least in terms of delivering the melodies. She has an incredibly strong, penetrating soprano style, and she is mixed very high in the production; itís rare and quite amazing to hear such smooth crystal-clear clarity mixed with such power and confidence. Although she tends to stay in a fairly narrow range, her delivery is deliberate, expressive and often quite dramatic, and her choruses are rousing and anthemic. She tends to be dark and urgent more than upbeat and poppy, with a strong sense of genuine conviction in her lyrics. There are also occasional fierce death vocals.

Perhaps the bands closest in sound to Avarial are Dawn of Destiny and Gwyllion, 2 other female vocal bands that downplay the symphonic elements for riffs, catchiness and bombast. This is indeed a strong debut, especially for fans of this style of power metal, but the lack of song-to-song and in-song variety makes it fall short of being an excellent debut. That said, Shannonís vocal performance is one of the most engaging and captivating Iíve heard in a long time and I look forward to hearing them as they mature in their songwriting skills.




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