Saturday, October 9, 2010

AVIAN EP Review

Avian – The Path
Blinding Force Recordings, 2010
9/10
It’s really difficult to rate an EP higher than 8, simply because most are usually stopgap releases containing odds and ends that aren’t representative of a band. Guitarist Yan Leviathan and Avian continue to improve upon the outstanding Ashes And Madness power metal album despite losing vocalist supreme Lance King. No band is so fortunate as to realize that they’ve got another member with the talent to replace someone like Lance, but that’s exactly what happened with Avian and their bassist, Brian Hollenbeck. If you’ve seen Avian or Echoterra, Yan and Brian’s other band, then you already know that Brian has a great voice, and Brian really takes it to next level here on The Path. Taking over the bass slot from Brian is Jaden Adair from the now defunct Minneapolis band Risingfall. This four-song EP contains two tracks that will appear on the next Avian album, “The Path” and “When The Night’s Undone”, an instrumental, “S.S.”, and an acoustic version of “The Fear”, originally released on From The Depths Of Time. “The Path” has been a part of Avian’s live set for a while, and its high-pitched vocals immediately lay to rest any doubts about Brian as the new frontman. Brian’s voice is edgier than Lance’s, and he helps to bring a darker vibe to “When The Night’s Undone”. Musically, these two songs contain heavy riffs reminiscent of Criss Oliva’s playing for Savatage. The big surprise on The Path is “S.S.”, a smoking-hot instrumental that has Yan and lead guitarist Steve Stine dueling their way through an aggressive shred-fest worthy of the Shrapnel label. The acoustic version of “The Fear” is tastefully done and a nice addition to the package. The Path is essential for any power metal fan, and it will reassure anyone skeptical about Lance’s departure. “S.S.” and “The Fear (Acoustic)” are exclusive to this release, and they make the EP well worth its modest price. Avian fans have a lot to look forward to on the next album, Midnight At The Tower, which is scheduled for release in early 2011, and The Path is an excellent preview that confirms Avian’s place at the top of the current power metal scene.
Click to listen to “The Path”.
The Path is available in CD format directly from the band (www.avianband.com), CD Baby, and Amazon, and as a digital download from CD Baby and iTunes.

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