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Joan Avant – Dies Irae

Joan Avant
Dies Irae
by Sean Leslie at 05 January 2022, 9:09 AM

JOAN AVANT is a Victorian gothic symphonic rock multi-instrumentalist, vocalist and songwriter from Dallas, Texas, USA. First picking up the violin at the age of 11 years old with a love of classical music, growing up in a heavily rock influenced household, with her dad being a guitarist she would often tag along with him and his friends which is where she learned to play the drums, the guitar and other instruments. In college she lead somewhat of a double life as a musician, playing in operas, symphonies, and ensembles as a classical musician but also allowing herself the ability to play drums and guitar in various rock bands. Now she is a one-woman band with her debut release coming at the beginning of 2019 in the form of her debut full length studio album “Drown Ophelia” before the release of her single “Clara’s Dance” to finish off the year in 2019. Two years later she's finishing off 2021 with her second album “Dies Irae” via Red Masque Records.

This album is a ten track tapestry of gothic, historic and Victorian/Belle Epoque fantasy for fans to experience as she graces listeners with her piano playing abilities, her drumming skills, she shows off her musicianship with stringed instruments as she plays the guitar, bass and the violin, and on top of all of that, she shows off her incredible skills as a vocalist. In the build up to the release of this album, there had been two pre-release singles, the tracks “Better Broken” and “End Of The Opera” where both released ahead of the album, with “Better Broken” being the first of the two to come out a month prior to the album and “End Of The Opera” was then released a just over a week before the album was released. Both tracks served as great insights into the sound of the album to get fans ready for what they were soon to hear.

The albums first single “Better Broken” is the second track on the album, it’s a very soft sounding track, starting off very piano and vocal heavy with the introduction of a bass guitar shortly thereafter. It is a well written track, piano sounded amazing, the bass sounded quite gritty, almost as if you were actually able to hear the strings vibrate rather then the actual tone of the bass and the addition of the guitar when the track built up was well done.  The title track “Dies Irae” is the sixth track on this record, the title translates from Latin to mean “Day Of Wrath” and the title is a nod it’s use in MOZART’s “Requiem Mass”. This track focuses on hell, guilt and judgement, with a title like “Day Of Wrath” it does make sense, the track opens with church-like organ sounds which I thought fit the vibe of the track quite well, this definitely is a more rock styled track then those that came before it.

The final track I’m going to touch on is the final track on the album and it’s second pre-release single “End Of The Opera” this track is the shortest on the album, it’s over before you know it. it’s quite an upbeat track and it’s a great vibe for a track to end an album with as it leaves fans wanting more. Having listened to this album in it’s entirety, I can say that if you’re a fan of gothic, historic and Victorian/Belle Epoque fantasy, this an album to check out and she is definitely a name worth remembering for the future. All the tracks, except the last one, are around five minutes in length so if you like slightly longer songs, you’re in luck with this album.

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 5
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

1. Cirque Fernando
2. Better Broken
3. Courtesan
4. Mr. Chandler
5. Party For Dolores
6. Dies Irae
7. Marionetta
8. All The Voices
9. Keys To The Castle
10. End Of The Opera
Joan Avant – All Instruments
Record Label: Red Masque Records


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Edited 05 December 2022

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