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Aversed – Impermanent

by Santiago Puyol at 07 March 2021, 6:11 PM

American Progressive/Melodic Death Metal band AVERSED have released their debut full-length, "Impermanent", follow-up to their 2011’s self-titled debut EP and 2014’s EP "Renewal". This nine track collection spawns almost an hour of music and covers some diverse ground, going for more traditional Death Metal fare, to Metalcore and Djent inspired bits, to a mix of Progressive Metal technicality and Melodic Death Metal songwriting.

Opener "Natsukashi" makes for a brutal intro. It never lets the energy go, always on edge, with a sense of urgency, certainly feels like a banger right until the end. The contrast between Haydee Irizarry’s harsh vocals and clean ones fits the dramatic nature of the music, while symphonic flourishes and some gorgeous soloing add nice flavours to the song. "Close My Eyes" follows with its driving rhythm and a powerful trade-off between cleans and growls in the verses. Its catchy chorus being its most impressive feat.

"Laboratory" makes the most of a great buildup from the soft intro guitar to heavier, fast-paced musicianship. Some screechy bits and more traditional Death Metal sounds become clear in the riffing. I also got some OPETH vibes from the chord progression at times. The second half of the track has a Metalcore feel, quite reminiscent of early BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME.

The soft, Power Ballad-esque break in the middle of "Impermanent" is one of the most interesting sections of the entire record, as it shows how dynamic the band can be. There’s a bit of PINK FLOYD-esque ambience in the softer passages. Vocal harmonization is a nice addition and brings the track together.

"Abandoned" is by far the most successful song on the album. Following a beautiful jazzy intro, with a loungy feel that lingers on, it settles onto playful and catchy riffing, a bit Djenty even. Sungwoo Jeong and Alden Marchand lay down some of the most interesting guitar work on the album. This track highlights that when AVERSED isn’t too worried with being heavy and abrasive, they really hit a sweet spot. There’s time for heaviness on "Abandoned", but overall, the track is softer, more straightforward and filled with memorable melodies. And lack of memorability happens to be the biggest flaw of the record after all.

Gorgeous organ/synth at the very beginning "Solar Sea" leaves the listener wanting more. The contrast between that brief, soft intro and the first verse is brutal but I have to admit that it really works, even if we do not really get to listen to more of those synth textures. "Solar Sea" is another lengthy, shifting track. It is less dynamic than previous songs but it makes great use of vocal harmonization as texture a couple of times, especially towards the end.

"Malaise" and "Spiraling" are catchy and really showcase the rhythm section. The former features some masterful drumming by Jeffrey Saltzman, nicely paired with brutal harsh vocals and playful riffing. The chorus has a jazzy feel when it comes to the rhythm section. Irizarry’s powerhouse cleans shine through and through on the chorus. That brief, fast-paced section at the end sounds vaguely thrashy. Meanwhile, Martin Epstein’s is the highlight on "Spiraling", a banger with a bit of a Power Metal-ish feel at times.

Closer "Nightshade" makes for an epic, if at times meandering, finale. Once again, the best sections are when the band lets loose and embrace their softer side, here helped by cello and other bowed strings giving the whole middle section a bit of theatricality. The clean guitar playing and even acoustic guitar are simply beautiful. An outstanding closing track that highlights the band’s strengths.

"Impermanent" was challenging listen. It is an album filled with clearly talented people and some strong songwriting but that at times gets bogged down due to its necessity to keep the energy and the brutality always on top. AVERSED could allows themselves to explore more their softer, quieter, beautiful and vulnerable side, because they are masters at it already. Adding a bit more diversity and contrast could work. Sometimes the powerful clean vocals by Irizarry seem to be fighting against pulverizing drumming and noisy riffing, not being allowed to become the point of attention, and it undermines the idea of contrast between harsh+heavy and clean+soft. I commend the band for avoiding some genre conventions or more clichéd ideas about soft-loud dynamics, but at times it feels they simply are not letting the music flow in a more natural, or comfortable direction.

On their debut full-length, AVERSED make their vision clear and show they are a skillful, creative band. This is a solid record that mostly fans of Progressive Death Metal and to an extent fans of Melodic Death Metal might appreciate. I am sure things can only improve next time around!

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 5
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

1. Natsukashi
2. Close My Eyes
3. Laboratory
4. Impermanent
5. Abandoned
6. Solar Sea
7. Malaise
8. Spiraling
9. Nightshade
Haydee Irizarry – Vocals
Sungwoo Jeong – Guitars
Alden Marchand – Guitars
Martin Epstein – Bass
Jeffrey Saltzman – Drums
Record Label: Independent


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