Sunday, February 12, 2017

Avenford - New Beginning (2017)

I really do not know what the message is if the second album of a band's career is a new beginning. Maybe the debut was a mistake, or the band just made a complete overhaul in the line up, or perhaps it just does not have any real meaning what so ever, and it is just a decently cool sounding title. No matter the reason, "New Beginning" is the name of the Hungarian power metal band Avenford's second full length release, and it is one that you all should give a try.

The band was formed by guitarists Peter Szehoffner and Arpie Gamson (who also is the vocalist) in 2012, but Avenford did not truly take off until the duo moved to the UK later in that same year, where they wrote and recorded most of the songs that would make their first album, entitled "Mortal Price", which got a release in 2014. Now, three years and several drummers and bassists later, the band has uncovered their sophomore album.

The thing that makes "New Beginning" an interesting album is that it balances melody and power very carefully, making sure that no part takes over the other. It is obvious that the band has borrowed a lot of influences from more melodic rock acts like Jorn and Axel Rudi Pell, but has included a heavier touch to it. Scatter in some Yngwie Malmsteen guitars too, and you get this album, and it is a mix that pays off a lot, because it sounds really good.

The band wastes no time from the start, both "Dead Or Alive" and "Back In Time" are powerful tracks that sets the bar high for the rest of the album. Actually, the only time the band matches that speed might be on the track "Overlord", which is fine by me, because this band shows so much more than just pure power, so that they hold it to just a few songs makes the impact so much bigger whenever they hit you. Otherwise it is the melodies that takes the charge, and leads the strike.

The band also get some help here by some guest artists, with the most notable one being Apollo Papathanasio, whom we know from both Firewind and Spiritual Beggars. He lays the vocals for "Dead Or Alive", and he obviously does a good job, but I would have liked a collaboration here with Apollo and Avenford singer Arpie Gamson, but we don't, Gamson stays in the background instead and just plays one of the two guitar parts. The same goes for track 8, "Dark Angel", where Zoltán Kiss is the guest vocalist, and all of the guest tracks on guitar are all lead works, with Zoltán Maróthy on "Back In Time", Roland Grapow on "Fury Road" (a song that has to be inspired by the latest Mad Max movie), and Máté Bodor on "Mask".

Despite all of the guest take overs, Avenford does show enough of their skills to make at least me satisfied. The instrumental track "Return From The Land of Emeralds" has several classical elements to it that is really neat, making an exciting journey, and the title track is a cool mid tempo song that takes some inspirations from Axel Rudi Pell and the 90's. All in all, a diverse record that has a little something for everyone.

"New Beginning" could just as well be what it says, a beginning for a band that could be ready to take the next step of their evolution. The song material here is strong, the production is clean, and the performance is top notch. It is almost a shame that the guest appearances here almost takes over the album, because most of them are not really necessary, even if they offer something to the table. Oh well, "New Beginning" is still a really nice power metal album, and I will most certainly keep an eye on this band and their future progress, and so should you.

Songs worthy of recognition: Overlord, Back In Time, New Beginning

Rating: 8/10 Fury Roads

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