I seem to remember Brazilian metallers Dark Avenger originally releasing this on the little known Rossom Records label about three years ago, to little or no fanfare; That was undoubtedly a shame, because Tales of Avalon: The Lament is a stirring, at times fantastic romp through Arthurian storydom that really does deserve the widest possible audience, so full props must go to Italian label Scarlet for getting it back into the market place.
On the face of it, Dark Avenger are a pretty standard Brazilian power metal band aping their Euro/North American cousins, especially vocalist Mário Linhares with his Kotipelto-meets-LaBrie phrasing. However there are enough flashes of brilliance on this record to suggest there’s a little more than just second division hackery at work here. Third track The Knight on the Hill is an absolute belter, for instance, with guitarists Leonel Valdez and Jeff Castro meshing perfectly underneath Linhares to provide a blustering, pompous piece of metal that classic-era Queensrÿche wouldn’t have kicked out of the studio. Elsewhere Broken Vows, with its beefy drums (provided by Kayo John) and stentorian riffs brings to mind Black Sabbath circa the Headless Cross sessions– these songs really are of the highest quality.
Can You Feel It? Is the album’s big ballad, even featuring a choir full of children, but it doesn’t really match up to the excellent heavy metal thunder that surrounds it, and it’s the only song where the mix (courtesy of Accept/Skid Row alumnus Michael Wagener) doesn’t really come up to scratch. This is about the only miss move on the album, however; Dead, Yet Alive! Is a storming piece of epic power metal pomp and circumstance, all galloping rhythms and banshee wailing, and comes replete with the best guitar work on the album, but it’s balloon is thoroughly burst by the short and lachrymose ballad, And So Be It. Which leaves closing track The Thousand Ones to put things back on a metallic keel, which luckily it does. And then some.
It would be a shame if this album went missing in action for a second time, so I implore you to get out there and flash the cash if you’re anything of a fan of well-crafted, well executed power metal. You’ll certainly not regret your decision if you do!
Tales Of Avalon: The Lament is released through Scarlet Records on June 24th