When they were young, friends and musicians Martin Utby and Simon Bergseth vowed to one day form a band. That was 22 years ago and has actually become a reality. AVOIDANCE understand the complete range of progressive sounds and extremes, preferably focused on atmosphere. The Norwegian sextet recorded its debut in a small hut, in the middle of the rainy and cold autumn and winter, accompanied by dark lyrics and themes. „The Approbation“ proves to be a massive statement work that one would expect from seasoned Prog masters.
The sheer power of the first notes of “The Pale Moon”, accompanied by complex rhythms, makes you sit up and take notice. However, if you are expecting Djent extremes, you will be bitterly disappointed, because AVKRVST quickly turn this prelude into the opposite and try to produce warm, intensive sounds that are more reminiscent of 60s and 70s Prog Rock. No less melodic, buttery soft vocals join in and move the action in the direction of Mew and Porcupine Tree. Although biting force with brutal growls finally finds its way, the meditative overall impression remains in the foreground and also speaks for the versatility of the northern lights.
“Isolation” also starts rock hard, only to initiate a constant up and down, skilfully rounded off by a completely crazy, slightly overdriven solo part. At the very end, the absolute test of talent awaits with the title song, because with more than 13 minutes of playing time, a lot can go wrong. At times you might think five or six different tracks have been combined into one big whole. Gentle atmospheric prog, rough neckbeats, expansive string witchcraft and hymn-like resolutions come together more or less seamlessly. You have to get used to that, of course.
Sometimes overloaded or exaggerated, but always exciting, that’s how this debut presents itself. AVKRVST have audibly collected a lot of ideas and now they would like to accommodate them all at once in these almost 50 minutes. What goes to the limits of what is possible in the two overly long final songs ultimately makes you feel good if you just get involved. “The Approbation” is not a record that you can just listen to on the side, it demands your full attention and, especially in the collage-like XXL format, only comes about with a little patience. However, every time you put into this unpredictable feel-good prog piñata is worth it – a challenge that not only retro fans should definitely take on.
Available from: 06/16/2023
Available from: Inside Out Music (Sony Music)
Category: Magazin, Reviews