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Auvernia - "Afraid of Me" (CD)

Auvernia - "Afraid of Me" CD cover image

"Afraid of Me" track listing:

1. Meeting (6:46)
2. Throw Your Fear Away (5:04)
3. And So Its Starts (4:14)
4. Anguish (5:07)
5. No Time for Time (5:05)
6. Interludio Porteño (3:00)
7. Self-Reflective Fear (5:11)
8. Out of My Hands (6:24)
9. Your Own Universe (4:10)
10. Ode to Life (6:03)
11. Another Conscience (4:08)
12. We are Complete (6:40)

Reviewed by on September 10, 2010

"The album title is honestly perfect, as the rest of the power metal world should be terrified of the awe inspiring beast that is Auvernia."

The Argentinean duo of Auvernia combined the over-the-top atmosphere of power metal with the heaviness of black metal in their debut album “Towards Eternity” (reviewed here), stitching together opposing styles in a nearly perfect weave of music. “Afraid of Me” takes that weave and expands it into a more full tapestry of complex arrangements that would normally have no business working together, but are somehow executed collectively with expert precision.

The new album isn’t content to just mesh together power metal and black metal, as each song is uniquely progressive. The intricately involved arrangements bring to mind bands like Dream Theater or To-Mera, but without the hubris or schizophrenia. Most of the songs, with a few exceptions, move at break neck speed while maintaining the elaborate frame work that plays the guitars, drums, keyboards, and vocals off each other. Which instrument is keeping up the melody and which is being heavy or menacing is constantly changing between the guitar and keyboard during each passage.

To keep with the progressive elements, the vocals are also frequently changing, and each is performed just as well as the next. The falsetto male power metal vocals are a focus, but they aren’t the only attraction, which is a boon for those who don’t care for that aspect of the genre. Just as frequently, there are deep, clean vocals that aren’t quite a yell, deep growls, and black metal screaming. As a throwback to the black metal atmosphere, there are occasionally blast beats underneath the melodic power metal exterior, which takes some serious talent to pull off well.

What most separates “Afraid of Me” from the earlier release, “Towards Eternity,” is the level of ethnic flavor in the music. On the band’s first full-length album there was a single interlude track that had a strong Latin feel, while this album introduces far more of the Latin influences for a sound that is truly unique. It’s not often one hears something resembling a Salsa dance track on a metal album. The interlude track that appears this time around, “Interludio Porteño,” takes the idea from the previous album to a whole new level, using the romantic Latin tunes in a more odd and progressive way. The song seems like it belongs in a scene involving secret agents having to keep their cover during an ornate dance segment.

“Afraid of Me” isn’t just absurdly epic, its non-stop absurdly epic. The album is also incredibly technical for extended periods, but it isn’t soulless technicality for the sake of appearances. Even when any given guitar or keyboard segment is leaving the audience dizzy, it still has a purpose and fits with the feel of the song. The album title is honestly perfect, as the rest of the power metal world should be terrified of the awe inspiring beast that is Auvernia.

Highs: Unique Latin flavor, awesome blend of black metal and power metal, and the album is non-stop epic.

Lows: The track “Out of My Hands” has a great Latin atmosphere, but it isn't as perfectly meshed into the metal segments.

Bottom line: Auvernia continues the winning combination of power metal and black metal by adding in more Latin and progressive influences.

Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls
4.5 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)