Avenger [Czech Republic]
Bohemian Dark Metal
Avenger is the first band out of Czech Republic that I encounter, and despite the band’s long history, being formed all the way back in 1992, the band’s new release hardly left a fantastic first impression with the album title simply named Bohemian Dark Metal – sounding almost as if the band were unsure what they were playing and simply donning the generic “dark metal” tag.
The album begins weirdly also, with the folk/traditional instrumentation at the beginning of Vitej zpatky doma…u krajine smutku a beznadeje catching the listener off-guard, though after numerous listens the dark atmosphere that this manages to set up becomes obvious and tasteful. The subsequent epic feel that the band emanates as the rest of the instruments come in is almost unmatchable, with the large sounds of the guitars and the drums and the doom-pace that the band goes at coming together surprisingly nicely. The heavy and almost heroic atmosphere of the music right from the start is unbelievably crushing yet extremely enjoyable, leaving listeners breathless from a one-of-a-kind experience from this Czech entity.
But this is only the beginning of the real journey that is to come, as the band begins their onslaught proper with Fales a apatie, and the “dark metal” portion of the band’s album becomes even clearer now as the band skilfully meshes together melody, aggression and chaos, complete with that darkness that constantly looms over the music. The sound of Bohemian Dark Metal is made even bigger with the constant war-drums that sound in the background, leaving an ominous and destructive atmosphere. The band also often surprises the listener with sudden breaks in the music, like a cliffhanger leaving the listener in suspense before letting all hell break loose with little warning.
The fact that Bohemian Dark Metal is mostly the work of only 2 musicians makes this album all the more charming, with Honza handling the drums and vocals, at the same time sharing guitar duties with Petr, and there are times when the quality of the music makes it almost hard to believe that this could be the work of only 2 members, with the epic sound that the band has managed to craft on this release. Honza’s shrieks are extremely versatile, fitting for both the aggressive moments and the more melancholic moments on the album, such as on Dusevni Chirurgie, and is one of the aspects that made the album particularly enjoyable. Bohemian Dark Metal has certainly surprised me despite all former expectations (or lack of) of the band, and is a unique listening experience for those who are seeking for an dark and epic extreme metal journey.