Australians Rise of Avernus have released a second full-length album in the shape of new release Eigengrau. The band are clearly ambitious, and keen to showcase their skills on the album. But sometimes there is just a little too much happening to get a clear picture of what they are trying to achieve.

An overview descriptor might place them somewhere to the mainstream side of Italy’s Fleshgod Apocalyse. However the cacophony that accompanies that artist’s best work is largely absent here. The musicians in Rise of Avernus constantly strive for a more clear-headed representation of their art. However they are not entirely successful in this quest.

As with many bands of a symphonic disposition, Rise of Avernus often favour the bigger picture at the expense of detail. For this reviewer’s taste, the more straightforward metal found in the (semi) title track is where the band strikes most effectively. As someone consistently drawn to the avantgarde this makes for a refreshingly ‘normal’ change. The band sound direct, compact and heavy, and the music is enjoyable.

That is not to say that the more symphonic parts are a failure. A lot of care has clearly been taken to score and execute the orchestral accompaniment. However sometimes this comes at the expense and cohesion of the basic metal backbone of some of the songs.

Tempest has a more fractured, black metal feel to it. Here the strings add drama to the amplified sturm und drang, making it the most effective example of what I think the band is trying to achieve. All the constituent parts of Rise of Avernus seem to fall into place here. The song is concise yet excites a variety of responses and emotions from the listener.

The following song Forged in Eidolon is not so effective. However it flows well from Tempest, retaining the urgent air of it’s predecessor. The artists have clearly given a lot of thought to the pacing and structure of the album, which is pleasing to note.

I congratulate Rise of Avernus on their efforts with Eigengrau. Not being a regular fan of this style of music, I was surprised at how easily my attention was held, despite my sometimes cool response to the musical pieces. This is definitely an album worth investing some attention in.

Eigengrau is out now on code666