[Review] Avandra – Skylighting

Avandra is a Progressive Metal/Rock project from San Juan, Puerto Rico founded in mid-2011 by Christian Ayala aka Volteau. From 2017 to today they have become a quartet and have released 3 albums, the latest of which “Skylighting” released on November 20, 2020 via Layered Reality Productions, composed of 7 medium-long duration tracks available in LP (both black and colored limited edition), CD and Digital. The sound proposed by Avandra starts from a Progressive Metal base to incorporate facets of various genres and styles, including Post Rock, more melodic and atmospheric features of Prog Rock. Over the years the music proposed by the band has refined and acquired original distinctive characters, becoming a personal, mature and technically well composed and performed style. The opener “Celestial Wreaths” immediately immerses us in the sounds of the band, an electric guitar riff and an atmospheric carpet of keyboards that are the backbone of the melodies. A rhythmic session with a drum that alternates accelerated moments and other more technical and elaborate ones. The vocal is melodic and pleasant and acts as a counterpoint by giving that more orbid and dreamy touch to the track, which contains within it a mix of Prog and Post halfway between Rock and Metal, with dark but pleasant sounds. A piano intro and “Noetic Probes” begins, which soon transforms with an intricate rhythm and sonority always between Prog and Post Rock. Here too the melodies are dark, this time also in the vocal at times choral, always however precise with the music. The keyboards intertwine well with the guitar creating an atmospheric and at the same time technical carpet. “Life is not a circle, but a sphere” kicks off with a melancholic intro with a great emotional impact, as well as the perfect voice to perform a piece of this type. More intricate than the previous ones and with a heavier touch, with marked influences Djent, without however affecting the smoothness of the track, pleasant and engaging. This addition of a little more technique and virtuosity shows how the skill of the musicians is functional to the success of the sound. “Eternal Return” is the longest track on the album, it also shows a high intensity, with some of the most powerful phrasing, while maintaining a remarkable emotional imprint. The sound concept that lòa bvand wants to express reaches one of the highest points, full of tempo changes and intricate inserts, with a first level technical dose. The phrasing between guitar and keyboards create engaging melodies and symphonic openings and the fusion between the various genres and influences that make up the sound of the band are amalgamated with perfection. A perfect insight into what Avandra‘s personal style is, a great starting point to understand their sound. With another melancholic intro between guitar and voice, “ProcGen” kicks off, a very atmospheric and ethereal track where guitar work plays a decisive role. The synth that comes into play in the second half of the song adds an orchestral and deep touch to the melodies, the symphonic Prog component comes out here and the lead guitar is a great protagonist, as well as the continuous tempo changes. “Afferent Realms” returns to a heavier territory, which had been set aside in the previous songs, with a push in the tighter and more intricate rhythmic session. To counteract the vocal melodies and the almost Djent complexity of the guitars and bass, true strengths of the track, a concentration of technique and remarkable tempo changes. “New Origins” features an atmospheric orchestral intro with layers of overlapping keyboards, which with the entry of the guitar transforms into a Prog song in the finale. A final track with very ethereal characters that seems to float and breathe all the surrounding space, excellent keyboard work and dreamy conclusion for a technically excellent record. An album that comes out of the classic patterns of Progressive mixing more influences and styles, passing from Prog Metal to Post Rock with ease and technical mastery. Forays into Djent and technique at the service of the good result of the sound, with rare virtuosity and many sound intertwining between instruments giving life to a mature album with personal characters. A recommended listening to all lovers of Prog sounds that come out of the classic schemes and dive into more modern and not really standard styles, one merit is to be original and technically very prepared.

Tracklist

01.Celestial Wreaths 05:08
02.Noetic Probes05:12
03.Life is not a circle, but a sphere05:15
04.Eternal Return 09:36
05.ProcGen 05:44
06.Afferent Realms 06:49
07.New Origins 04:07

Lineup

Christian Ayala Cruz / Vocals, Guitars, Synths
Luis Javier Rivera Guilbot / Guitars
Adrián Arroyo Schuck / Drums
Gabriel Rodríguez Martinez / Bass

With:
Vikram Shankar / Guest synths

Read our news article about the second single taken from the album: [News] Avandra launches new music video for “Afferent Realms” from upcoming album

Read our news article about the first single taken from the album: [News] Avandra publish the opening track of new upcoming album

Avandra |Bandcamp|Facebook Page|Instagram|Spotify|YouTube Channel|

Layered Reality Productions |Official Website|Bandcamp|Facebook Page|Instagram|YouTube Channel|

Author: Jacopo Vigezzi

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