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Avven - Kastalija

by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 05 July 2012, 4:30 PM

It has been a while since the last time I reviewed something in the Folk Metal subgenre distributed in a foreign language to English. After having my share of German, Arabic, Russian, Ukrainian and Spanish, this time I was awarded with a Slovenian experience that left me with a good taste even if I couldn't understand a frickin' word, well aside from two examples in English. AVVEN, releasing their debut album, "Kastalija", a name that it was hard to find a meaning to, at least that is what I got from Google Translate, created a kind of Metal that generally smooth and fluent in order to let any individual enjoy their music even without understanding what their chosen stories are all about. The music made its own speeches. So you probably had it figured that I liked this release, well how can't anyone like it?

Within their compositions I could feel the livelihood but also the lurking evil knee deep in the tales. The good fight between good and evil that ended in favor of the forces of good. I might be blabbering with no sense, but you can argue with your feelings right? No you can't, no matter what anybody else tells you. Coming back to the album, AVVEN wrote simple riffing that was proudly presented along with leading features such as the violin, accordion, tin whistles and flute. Though I was rather displeased by the fact that there weren't lead guitar displays, which should have been an essential part of the songs as a great enticing factor, I was able to live without them. The vocalists did their part, both male and female, with finesse by having great voices that presented the roles on this fine overall play. The rhythms were pretty basic for this kind but catchy and flowing; there was no need to further develop those. Some things were meant to remain basic as there are other layers providing the spicing, in particular the violins that substituted the lead guitars.

I was highly impressed by the opener "Zmaji" that with its somewhat Popish, though Metallic, was able to move something. I like the heavier moments in Metal but this was a hard one to deny. "Tarak", sung in English, reminded me of old SABATON songs, mainly due to the voice pattern of the vocalist plus the role of the keyboards along the rhythms. "sPain" is yet another example of great fluency followed by Spanish like musical additions, it sounded like a true happy type song. In general, the album was produced well though not sounding overly bombastic; the songs were well written and highly accessible. I crown this release as a success for this young band, though I wouldn't mind listening to more material in English.

4 Star Rating

1. Zmaji (“The Dragons”)
2. Ros
3. Nuala
4. Vvile
5. Ibo
6. Tarak (English)
7. Hej ti! (“Hey You”)
8. sPain
9. L.78
10. Tornach (English) 
Uroš Rozina “Ierlath”– Bass / Vocals
Primož Lajovic “Anam”– Vocals / Guitar
Barbara Upelj “Morrigan”- Violin
Peter Dimnik– Keyboards / Programming
Miha Bes “Aillan”– Drums / Percussions
Gašper Šinkovec “Galvin”– Guitar / Vocals / Accordion
Anej Ivanuša “Anej I.”- Tin Whistle / Low Whistle / Flute / Programming
Record Label: Independent


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