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Avdagata – Damnatio Cursus Award winner

Damnatio Cursus
by Alex Barnard at 19 January 2022, 12:15 PM

AVDAGATA is a Melodic Black/Death Metal band from Sweden. “Damnatio Cursus” is the group’s debut EP, released by Black Lion Records on October 15, 2021.

There’s a lot to unpack here for an EP that is only 21 minutes. First of all, the atmospheric elements that feature so prominently in Black Metal mix very well with the orchestral sounds and contrast wonderfully with some of the heavier Death Metal riffs. At times, the chord progressions feel a little clichéd but, fortunately, the band does not rely on them to fill out the song structure. Second, let’s talk about the production: very tight, very loud, and in no way messy – just as it should be.

Last but not least, let’s talk about the musicians. Once I saw that the song titles were in Swedish, I knew there was no way I would ever understand what Sebb Drago would be singing about. However, when it comes to growling style, the closest sound his voice reminds me of is Randy Blythe on LAMB OF GOD’s “New American Gospel,” – visceral, raw, and absolutely brutal. Guitarist Henric Liljesand takes inspiration from a wide swath of guitar legends, from Euronymous and Trey Azagthoth to Steve Vai and, one of my personal favorites, Marty Friedman. Of course, his keyboard and bass playing is equally as phenomenal. And finally, Freddy Ortscheid must be taking speed or something because his command of breakneck tempos and different beat styles is superb.

Obviously, I have to pick highlights from the EP so here we go. The title track instantly put a smile on my face and reminds me of what some so-called OPETH fans wished the band sounded like today, albeit with more of a pronounced Death Metal edge. “Av lågor” started off sounding a bit IRON MAIDEN-ish before immediately flipping the riff on its head with chromatic melody lines and a heavy Gothic feel. “Det sanna ljuset” has one of the heavier main riffs on this EP, giving off EMPEROR vibes almost immediately. And finally, the evolution of the chord progressions in “Tillintetgöra” is truly inspired and evokes some of the more powerful emotions from any of the songs on this EP.

In conclusion, this is a very strong start to AVDAGATA’s career. Most bands on their first EP don’t sound anywhere near this tight, and it’s clear to me that the musicians have a chemistry that is going to work in their favor on future releases. If only this were a longer release – but I guess, I’ll have to wait for them to release their first LP for that.

Production: 10
Songwriting: 10
Memorability: 10
Musicianship: 10

5 Star Rating

1. Avdagata
2. Slutets fas
3. Av lågor
4. Det sanna ljuset
5. Tillintetgöra
Freddy Ortscheid – Drums
Henric Liljesand – Guitars, Bass, Keyboards
Sebb Drago – Vocals
Record Label: Black Lion Records


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