AVERLANCHE is a new and colorful apparition on the Finnish metal scene. The band was formed in Helsinki in early 2017 when German vocalist Rebecca Spörl joined up with guitarist Otto Haalahti, bassist Joonas Hämäläinen, drummer Antti Pätsi, and keyboardist and songwriter Antti Kopra. Together they play melodic metal that is easy on the ears. Their debut album, “Life’s Phenomenon,” was released independently on November 6th, 2020.
With a playtime of about 33 minutes, “Life’s Phenomenon” is a rather short and fun album, even if it is comprised of eleven tracks that mostly stay within the 3-minute range. Among these eleven songs, two of them are interludes with Finnish titles (“Kuvittelematta” and “Rakastuneet”) and are basically spoken word -type tracks that add a bit of mystery for those who don’t know the language. The first part of the album should be familiar, as songs from here have already been released as singles. “Imagined Nothing” and “Circus” have powerful drum and bass foundations on top on which the vocals dance freely accompanied by melodic guitar lines. There’s a nice contrast between the vocals and the instrumental that makes these tracks quite powerful. Lead single “The Diamond Hills” is more melodic and accessible, with the vocals as the driving force as Rebecca Spörl gets to show off her skills and range. The keyboards create a beautiful layer of underlying melodies that bounce off of the guitars and drums, giving the track a lighter feel. First single “The Sounds of Insomnia” is adorned with some interesting backing orchestrations and keys while the drums are loud and the guitar solo is pretty amazing.
The band’s symphonic side is a bit more present in “Hate” as backing arrangements merge with powerful drums and upfront guitars to give the track more style and elegance. Acoustic guitar opens up “Flowers,” one of the album’s most beautiful moments, as it is centered around Rebecca Spörl’s sweet voice. It’s deeply melancholic and has an almost imperceptible build-up as more instruments join the fold, yet it is still soft and delicate. The tempo picks up with “The Machinery of Life,” a faster number with a lot of bite and energy pulsing through it supported by some nice keys and roaring guitars. “Archives of Love” is an interesting track as it half sounds like a ballad, half like a banger. It adds a bit of variety to the album’s sound and makes me wish more songs had this type of structure. “Ghost” benefits from groovy guitar lines, intense backdrop, and some nice, melodic vocals, bringing the album to a neat close.
Since all songs are produced, mixed, and mastered by well-known producer Hiili Hiilesmaa (HIM, MOONSPELL, SENTENCED, APOCALYPTICA), I expected the quality to be top-notch. Unfortunately, the drums are too loud at times. When they are pulled back the songs sound better and more balanced but when they are in the center they dominate and drown most everything around them. Also, a bit more creativity and diversity in the songwriting department would be nice to hear on the next album, because the talent is there, it just needs to be a bit more polished and updated.
Despite being a rather linear record, “Life’s Phenomenon” is still a great listen with plenty of surprises and twists along the way. Moreover, it’s a solid first studio effort from such a young and capable bunch of musicians. Fans of such bands as MOONLIGHT HAZE, THE DARK ELEMENT, or ENEMY INSIDE will definitely appreciate what AVERLANCHE has to offer.
Written by Andrea Crow
- Imagined Nothing
- The Diamond Hills
- The Sounds of Insomnia
- The Machinery of Life
- Archives of Love
Rebecca Spörl – vocals
Otto Haalahti – guitar
Joonas Hämäläinen – bass
Antti Kopra – keyboards
Antti Pätsi – drums
Interview with Vola — “At this point, we just felt like writing something heavy again, more streamlined.”