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Ravishing Beauty - Avec Tristesse

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Artist: Avec Tristesse

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      03.02.2008 14:46
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      Avec Tristesse's first album (2002).

      Brazil's Avec Tristesse are one of those bands that defy a genre ever so slightly and cause another essentially meaningless one to sprout up in their favour. This band likes to be described as "dark metal," a term I've seen applied to the radically different Iced Earth in years past, but to be sensible for a moment and try to reign it in under equally daft-sounding but at least consistent terminology, this is more like gothic metal susceptible to bouts of symphonic black metal. I can't make a direct comparison, but imagine a bad Theatre of Tragedy mixed with an even less effective Dimmu Borgir, throw in some worthless atmospheric interludes and water sound effects, and you'd come up with something not dissimilar to this debut.

      This album is oddly short at just over half an hour, to the extent that the insubstantial instrumentals of less than two minutes apiece that make up three of the seven tracks are mainly there to prevent the album from being an even more embarrassing twenty-five minutes in length. The four prominent songs (tracks two, four, six and seven) are all slightly on the long side at over five minutes, and opt to use every available second to the full by varying the musical style restlessly within the same song. Rather than sound impressive and experimental, this only serves to make the whole thing sound less coherent and satisfying, and despite some minor differences between the songs - a female singer accompanying vocalist Pedro Salles in 'The Crown of Uncreation' and 'Paean,' or a long acoustic guitar section with illogical drumming in the former song - they all sound more or less the same.

      The dominant sound is keyboard-swept melancholia with the occasional nice lead guitar melody, interrupted by a leap into blast-beat-heavy black metal with harsh, snarled vocals with varying duration. The band doesn't work together all that well, and although the combination of male and female vocals is done well, Salles hogs a very unbalanced majority. This album was followed up by the longer and hopefully more worthwhile 'How Innocence Dies,' but I can't recommend this debut release for its contrastingly chaotic and repetitive sound, uninspired performances and insubstantial length of only four songs and a few instrumentals that achieve absolutely nothing. I thought this was kind of interesting when I first heard it a couple of years ago, but now it just bores me.

      1. Ravishing Beauty (Part 1)
      2. She, the Lust
      3. Ravishing Beauty (Part 2)
      4. The Crown of Uncreation
      5. De Sombre Amour et Suffrances
      6. In Vain I Cry
      7. Paean

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