Avenford - 'New Beginning' http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/4c/3c/c2/Avenford-New-Beginning-34-1502370640.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     August 10, 2017    
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Potentially incendiary, it sparks only for brief moments and never quite ignites.

Avenford are a Hungarian Metal band with a tendency towards the epic with cited influences that include Iron Maiden, Helloween, Masterplan, Jorn Lande and Yngwie Malmsteen. On the basis of that introduction alone, I guess one already has a pretty good idea of what to expect. The Masterplan (and Helloween) influence is particularly strong, with Roland Grapow not only producing but making a guest guitarist contribution. As you'd expect, then, there is power, speed, and serious attention given to song structure and song dynamics. The intros, in particular, show variety, attempts at innovation and a good sense of drama, and clearly the band can play, with Arpie Gamson and Pete Szehoffner seemingly capable of soloing with the best of them. However, all too often as soon as the vocals kick in and the songs settle down the drama disappears and we veer towards the banal.

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There are exceptions to be sure. 'Fury Road' has a nice jaunty keyboard intro and, with its fluent soloing and Classical interlude, is the first track to appear to have something a bit different about it. 'Dark Angel', despite its sub-Maiden derivations, also fares well courtesy of its melody and fluidity. 'Mask' too has a neat chorus line and cool breakdown, while 'Maze Of Visions' is a pleasant but all too brief musical piece that serves as a prelude to the ultimately rather dull title track. 'Return From The Land Of Emeralds' is an intriguing full-on instrumental that blends heavy riffing and Classical influences, sticking to its "Bach 'n' Roll" theme, despite constant surprising but delightful departures. It's my favourite track here and one of the few that really goes the distance. Final track 'Unholy Game' is a bit more raucous, exhibiting more swagger than most – a bit more Rival Sons than IM – which is curious, given the thrust of the album as a whole.

'New Beginning' is a frustrating listen, because musically a lot of necessary and sufficient elements are in place. However, despite the undoubted technical qualities of the band, and the effort they have clearly put in, much hinges on the quality and appeal of the songs. Unfortunately, most of the songs are pretty bland, making it difficult to see this as any more than a run-of-the-mill Metal release. Ultimately, it's an album that flatters to deceive. Potentially incendiary, it sparks only for brief moments and never quite ignites.

Michael Anthony

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