Avec Tristesse - _How Innocence Dies_
(Independent, 2004)
by: Brian Meloon (8.5 out of 10)
Avec Tristesse hail from Brazil, and play a style which is reminiscent of Opeth, infused with elements of the black metal style popularized by Dimmu Borgir. The music goes from soft acoustic sections to fast black metal and covers many shades in between. But while the comparisons to Opeth are obvious, Avec Tristesse don't simply blatantly copy their sound. Rather, they combine Opeth's sound with some other influences, and mix them together with a healthy dose of individual style. The vocals are a mix of black metal raspy style and a smooth clean vocal style (very Opeth-like at times, less so at others), with the occasional inclusion of female vocals. The guitars provide the basis for the music, and cover the myriad styles very well, while keyboards are used to subtly add atmosphere and occasionally as a main melody. The songs flow pretty well, and although most of the twelve songs are under six minutes, the shorter songs generally run together, making this feel more like an album with six longer songs. Although this is a self-financed release, everything about it is professionally done, from the playing and the production down to the artwork and the liner notes. The clean and powerful production is especially impressive, as it really enhances the effectiveness of the music.

That said, this isn't a perfect album. The major problem I see is that some of the songwriting doesn't make much sense. For example, the album's closer, "Sceptical and Gone", builds impressively for two minutes, and then just stops and goes nowhere for the remaining six minutes. A similar fate befalls "Presence Ignored", which starts with a brief techno/industrial interlude, then goes into a Lacuna Coil-inspired refrain (a sound which incidentally is completely out of place), and then just peters out before the second verse should start. In addition, there are a few awkward-sounding passages where the vocals or the guitars don't quite work. But despite these few missteps, on the whole this is an excellent offering. Fans of Opeth and similar bands as well as fans of melodic death and black metal should enjoy this, and I'll certainly be looking forward to their next release.

Contact: http://www.avectristesse.com

(article published 9/30/2004)


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