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Avenger get my vote for producing one of the most consistently crushing and brilliant black/death classics ever. On the same level as Belphegor and Akercocke, Avenger thoroughly dismantle the listeners' expectations as to what is to be expected from a black/death band.
First of all the vocals are straight up black metal with a distinct Norwegian influence. The music however is as diverse as it is technically impressive. The guitars are constantly in motion; there is no verse-chorus-verse repetition at all... just crushing death metal riffs with a slight hint of melody.
The point and counterpoint guitar riffs are mind-blowing at times, but it is this element of the music which gives Avenger an upper-hand over other hybrid death metal bands. As the previous reviewer stated, the guitar solos are some of the best ever recorded; I'll second that statement: every solo is not only extremely technical but extremely impressive in its' musical scope. The Egyptian influences which pop up occasionally are fucking amazing.
Production-wise "Fall of Devotion, Wrath and Blasphemy" is what you'd expect from a 1999 release. Every nuance of the music can be heard clearly and the mix is perfect. This release features some of the best production I've ever heard... it gives the album an extra dimension of re-playability.
Oh yeah, this motherfucker is straight evil and blasphemous too. You don't have to understand the vocalist to get the overall mood of every song. Rhythmically advanced and conceptually cohesive, this LP sets the bar for black/death metal (a truly kick ass genre when done right).
I love the intro to this album. It is this long piece, that doesn't build up, it's really sombre, slow, and eerie, and maintains this pace for about two and a half minutes or so. Then, out of nowhere, guitars come crashing in at a moderate pace, with a really catchy riff. Then, again, out of nowhere, it is ripped away by this blistering riff which sets the faster pace that the rest of the song, and album for that matter, follows.
Everything about this album is great. All the riffs are well constructed, well placed, and very memorable. The solos are some of the best I've ever heard. Rather than just being your typical wank-fest, the solos come out of the music, and are a part of it, instead of distracting you from the rest of what's going on. The drumming is intense, and very complex, though you won't notice it if you're only transiently listening. If you actually sit there and take the time to listen to what is being played, it will blow your mind. I absolutely love these ghost snare hits that get thrown into rolls, as well as the dynamics (for those of you who don't know, that's when all the notes aren't played at the same volume level) used, which is something you rarely see in metal drummers. The vocals are just as awesome as the music. There are some effects on them, but they're not over-done and cheesy. I don't even speak Czech and I can tell what he's saying for the most part, which is a good thing.
The production quality on this album is perfect. It's got a warm kind of feel too it, with some slight reverb on the drums and a darker tone. You can hear and tell what is going on quite clearly, but it isn't at all crisp. It is kind of like, instead of all the parts trying to sound cool and catchy, and line up, they're all different, and unique. They fit well together, but they don't exactly follow each other. The best way I can describe it in comparison to most music, it is more organic and less machine-like. Anything done on this album could not possibly work any other way.
I recommend this album to anybody who is just checking this band out for the first time.