- Album Reviews

Dark Avenger – Tales of Avalon: The Lament

When you ask most metal fans about Brazillian metalbands you will inevitably hear the names Sepultura and Angra among others but there are hundreds of up and coming metal bands of all genres in Brazil’s thriving metal scene. One such band that you may not have heard of despite releasing their self-titled debut album in 1995 is Dark Avenger. After twelve years Dark Avenger has released the sequel of sorts to it’s 2001 album Tales of Avalon:

The Terror. The new album titled Tales of Avalon: The Lament is only the bands fourth release in its almost twenty year existence and it is arguably their best work to date. The album was produced and recorded at Rossum Records by Tito Falaschi and R. Schumann and mixing and mastering was done by world renowned producer and sound engineer Michael Wagener (Metallica, Ozzy, King’s X, Accept). According to the bands bio The Lament and its predecessor The Terror is a play in two acts: the terror & the lament. Dialogs of love and hatred, honor and despise, compassion and vindication, hopes and farewells, in a frantic unfolding journey through the emotions shared by Morgana, Arthur, Guinevere, Merlin, Mordred and all the ones who dwell in the Arthurian legend atmosphere to a temporal surrender of soul and personal figure till its core: human.

The current line up of Dark Avenger consists of vocalist Mário Linhares, drummer Kayo John, guitarists Leonel Valdez, Jeff Castro and bassist Gustavo Magalhães. The music can best be described as traditional metal with power metal influences. Unlike some power metal bands out there, Dark Avenger puts less emphasis on keyboards and symphonic elements and concentrates more on heavy guitars and soaring vocal melodies. Linhares has a powerful voice and can sing melodically but with grit and aggression when the song calls for it. The song From Father to Son starts with a Gregorian-style chant and kicks into a heavy power chord and drum attack with symphonic keyboard nuances. When the vocals kick in so does the melody and mid-tempo aggression with Linhares vocal similarities to Ralf Scheepers of Germany’s Primal Fear. There are lots of tasty leads and harmony guitar leads throughout this mid-tempo headbanger. The second track Darkest Night brings the speedy Euro power metal style double bass drumming and chugging guitar riffs with Linhares sounding aggressive and evil while hitting some incredible high notes with precision and accuracy.

The intro riff to The Knight on the Hill has a remarkable similarity to Lay It Down from the 80’s glam band Ratt, but that’s where any similarities thankfully end. The song is a melodic metal stomper with underlying keyboards a great catchy chorus complete with soaring high harmony lead vocals. The keyboards are never too prominent here and are just added for an extra dose of melody to the chorus. The mood takes a darker turn on the heavy grinding slow crawl of Broken Vows. This song may not move at 100 miles an hour but sometimes the heaviest metal songs are the ones that burn slowly with a purpose.

Stronger Than Death has some symphonic elements within its core and an epic rousing anthemic power metal chorus reminding me of classic Avantasia. The band shows it’s softer side on Can You Feel It? a power metal ballad with some nice guitar work and impressive vocal work from Linhares. Overall the song is nothing too special until mid-song when a children’s choir sings the chorus sending chills up this listener’s spine and taking the song to another level. The heavy riffing and dark sounding keys of Utter Evil brings the power back in spades with Linhares vocals going from an evil growl to incredible soaring high notes. Sicorax Scream is another foray into traditional speedy power metal with soul piercing screams and machine gun style kick drums.

Producer Tito and his brother Edu Falaschi vocalist of Almah fame guest on the Maiden-esque powerful track Dead Yet Alive. The too short piano ballad So Be It has a Manowar-ian majestic quality to it. The albums final moment The Thousand Ones begins with a stirring acoustic guitar and the sound of waves crashing against the shore and gives way to a crushing power chords and guitar riffs courtesy of the tandem of Valdez and Castro. Linhares gives his best vocal performance on the album with a mix of melody, aggression, and power.

Dark Avenger is another band that I was not familiar with before listening to Tales of Avalon: The Lament but I can assure you that they will be a force to be reckoned with within the underground power metal community. If you like your metal with melody and aggression then Dark Avenger is the band you’ve been searching for!

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