The Divine Tragedy
4/25/2008 - Review by: Etiam
With everyone getting in on the one-man black metal trend nowadays, it was only a matter of time before the bastion of unending grimness that is De Kalb, Illinois offered up a champion. Enter Avichi and 'The Divine Tragedy', the debut offering from the sole member Aamonael. It comes by way of Numen Malevolum Barathri Records, which seems to espouse an ethos (and name) comparable to that of Norma Evangelium Diaboli, and also seems to recently have folded.
No great loss, to be honest, if Avichi was the prized vintage in its cupboard. Aamonael follows all the tenets of metaphysical Satanic black metal so popular nowadays, and some of his booklet imagery is indeed startling (two chains with hooks on each end, the bottom pair piercing the wings of a dove and the top, explicitly rendered labia), but the music fails to be as intriguing.
Neither exemplary nor embarrassing, 'The Divine Tragedy' blends the standard fare with handfuls of blackened thrash, atmospheric drone, thoroughly useless intro/outro tracks, and finger-picking technique into a murky whole that will elicit more shrugs than shivers. The structure of these songs is mostly semi-strophic, as is to be expected in the genre, but few of its core riffs are engaging enough to keep the audience interested for long. As a session member, Xaphar turns in an acceptable effort on the drums, wandering between simplistic and busy rhythms with aptitude but little vision.
If 'The Divine Tragedy' could be summed up in a word, it would be mundane. Listening to Avichi causes one to wonder whether this strain of metal has been played out and now fails to leave much of a lasting impression, savory or otherwise. This concern, more than any discomfort of fear this music could inspire, is a troubling thought and reason enough to steer clear in pursuit of finer spirits. Indeed, 'The Divine Tragedy' isn't anything a stiff belt of Clandestine Blaze can't remedy, or perhaps Vrolok is one is feeling domestic. As for Avichi--best to leave it on the lower shelf as a dust-stand.
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