Female fronted metal, it’s not my genre to put it politely. I feel it’s more about the good looks of the female singer and not that much about the music. Fortunately, there are always bands that prove to be an exception to the rule. Ava Inferi are one of those bands. Lead by former Mayhem guitarist Rune Eriksen and female singer Carmen Susana Simões the band released several albums, including The Silhouette (2007) and Blood Of Bacchus (2009). Their latest record, entitled Onyx, is the subject of this review.
Ava Inferi have two things going for them, namely the exceptional song writing skills of Rune Eriksen and the impressive vocal range of Carmen Susana Simões. Those two elements set the band apart from their peers. This results into a great set of compositions, like The Living End, A Portal, ((Ghostlights)) and The Heathen Island.
Another great feature about Onyx is that Eriksen and Co don’t need to implement massive choirs and layers upon layers of keyboards in order to create a certain kind of atmosphere. It’s the compositions themselves and the characteristic vocals of Carmen that carry the day. She does rely on her opera voice here and there, but mostly she uses her normal singing voice. I find that really refreshing.
Sound wise Onyx has a warm and organic production, which enhances the Mediterranean feel and melancholy.
Onyx by Ava Inferi is a very solid and at times quite adventurous atmospheric metal album. Recommended when you’re into bands like Anathema, Katatonia and Novembre. This album is especially recommended when you’re completely bored with Epica, Nightwish and various assorted ensembles…
Written by Raymond Westland