In the world of heavy metal, Brazil is known for several iconic bands including Angra, Almah, and the legendary Sepultura, to name a few. One band that has been making waves in their native Brazil is Dark Avenger, a band that combines traditional, power, and prog metal styles to create their own unique brand of metal. Dark Avenger is set to release their 6th studio album titled The Beloved Bones: Hell, their most complex album yet. The album was produced and mixed by Glauber Oliveira (Dark Avenger guitarist) and mastered by Tony Lindgren (Kreator – Gods of Violence) at Fascination Street Studio (Sweden).
According to their press release, The Beloved Bones is a two-chapter play: HELL and DIVINE and the first part talks about ten mental stages someone probably might be through when living a constant uncomfortable situation (Hell is repetition) as for example, a loveless marriage, a severe disease, an unwanted job, financial difficulties, alcoholism, drug abuse, a sex harassment, among many others which we inadvertently allow to come into our lives.
The amazing cover illustration was created by the French artist Bernard Bittler and follows the mental phases and feelings outpouring described in the first part of the play: Unconsciousness – Denial – Fugue – Victimization – Despair – Craving – Reflection – Balance – Courage – Decision – Freedom. Pretty fascinating and interesting concept if you ask this reviewer.
The album kicks off with the melancholy strains of violin on the title track, a heavy aggressive song that features symphonic elements, chanting vocal choirs, chugging guitar rhythms of Glauber Oliveira and Hugo Santiago, and the powerful machine gun bass drumming of Brendan Hoffman. Vocalist Mario Linhares has a powerful set of pipes that are melodic and dramatic, a combination of Savatage’s Jon Oliva and Sanctuary/Nevermore screamer Warrel Dane.
Smile Back To Me is a dark and aggressive song with a faster thrash-like tempo and some killer riffs and shredding solos and Linhares emotional and theatrical vocal style. The main refrain bleeds into the next track King For A Moment, which has a similar melody line but builds with intensity, including some guttural growls for an added effect. Mid-song there is a phenomenal breakdown accented with a harmony guitar solo from Oliveira and Santiago.
This Loathsome Carcass is a mid-tempo track featuring some Brazilian-style percussion, grandiose orchestral elements, razor sharp riffing, and a more operatic vocal performance from Linahres with great effect within the song, and once again some fine shredding from the guitar duo of Oliveira and Santiago.
Breaking Up Again begins slowly with a solitary piano and Linhares powerful and melodic vocals and gradually builds to a crescendo to a dark and heavy track with thrashing drums and aggressive riffs. Empowerment is a chugging metal monster with a great melodic vocal hook and a blend of symphonic and power metal styles while the next song, Nihil Mind, contains the most progressive elements than any other song on The Beloved Bones: Hell, fusing odd-time changes, chugging guitar rhythms, a bass solo courtesy of bassist Gustavo Magelhaes, and even the use of an accordion, to create one of the strongest songs on the album.
Purple Letter uses a flange guitar effect to begin the song, featuring thrash, cinematic, symphonic elements, and emotionally charged guitar solo. The use of a female vocalist at the end of the song is the perfect compliment to Linhares powerful and dramatic vocal style.
Sola Mors Liberat is the most symphonic track on the album, utilizing a vocal choir, piano, Linhares dark melancholy vocals, and orchestral elements to create a powerful theatrical and dramatic moment, complete with a somber and emotional guitar solo.
The albums final song, the beautiful ballad, When Shadows Fall, features percussion, symphonic arrangements, and acoustic guitar to accompany Linhares soft and drama-filled vocal which has elements of James Labrie, Fabio Lione, and Geoff Tate in the style and timber of his voice. A perfect way to end an album that features different styles and an emotional roller coster of heavy metal, power metal, and prog to create an album that fans of Savatage, Nevermore, and Angra will thoroughly enjoy! With The Beloved Bones: Hell, Dark Avenger has created a unique and powerful vision within the landscape of heavy metal concept albums.