AVIAN – From The Depths Of Time


Massacre Records
Release Date: October 21, 2005

User Review
10/10 (1 vote)

Billed as a Power Metal band, Atlanta-based Avian took their name from a bird-like creature in the novel The Garden of Rama. Their debut album, From the Depths of Time, is a “concept” album that begins with a mixed metaphor in the title and suffers through 13 poorly mixed tracks that sound as if they have a bad case of the flu. Congested arrangements and pale vocals prove nearly fatal to an album by a band that otherwise shows signs of health. The full prognosis is that these guys have musical talent and should not be written off because of a sickly first effort.

The compositions possess some personality, albeit the same one reiterated on each song. With 13 tracks, their appeal does start to wear thin and the listener may get jaded halfway through the album, especially with the mish-mash mix compounding the situation. Start with the basic feel of old Def Leppard, e.g., “Rock Brigade” or “Wasted” (On Through the Night, 1980). Moderate tempos, steady rhythms, and laid-back melodies make for a pleasant “I’m cool with my shades on” kind of mood, right? … Then throw in keyboards, more reverb, more vocal tracks, more keyboards, and then double everything. Then decrease the level of the vocals just enough to make the listener wonder if he’s going deaf.

The album production characteristics are actually feeble enough to be a source of distress to the listener. Interestingly, no individual guitar, keyboard, bass, or drum part on the album sounds particularly bad, in terms of instrumentation or performance — if considered in isolation. Indeed, it’s probably the case that each single instrument sounded great live, in the studio. Plus Lance King (Pyramaze, Balance of Power, Gemini) gives an admirable vocal performance. The problem lies in the sum of the parts and the resulting listening experience. The vocals in particular are excessively processed and, ironically, they sound enormously small in the mix. Even more ironic, Lance mixed the album, doing himself a great disservice.

Sadly, the songs have the artificiality of a moderately attractive woman who’s had so much cosmetic surgery and wears so much makeup that it distracts from and overcomes what beauty she originally had. If Lance and the others were attempting to compensate for supposed deficiencies in the compositions or to enhance the arrangements, they achieved the exact opposite of their intentions.

The official Avian lineup is Yan Leviathan on rhythm guitar, Jonah Weingarten (Pyramaze) on keyboards, and the aforementioned Lance King on vocals. In addition, Ex-Megadeth bassist Dave Ellefson played on the album and co-produced(!). David Small, from Ellefson’s current project, F5, contributed the drumming, which often contributes to the banality of the music.

Roger Moore (Gemini) handled lead guitar and is about the only fresh air in the murky mix. His crisp and creative solos provide needed relief from the wetness of the vocals. Clearly a technically advanced player, he’s good at fusing intense Blues-based phrasing, impressive sweep-arpeggio licks, and deft chromatic lines into his solos without sacrificing artistry to show off mechanical ability. Roger’s flights temporarily lift music that is otherwise too weighted down to get off the ground.

To sum up the album: so close and yet so far. If Avian can develop some rhythmic and melodic diversity within their budding musical personality, and refrain from over-arranging and over-mixing, their individual talents would shine through and the music would come alive. The paradox that one can glean by listening to the album is that Avian are not a dull bunch of musicians, but overall, the production values on From the Depths of Time make it a dull album.


  • Jason Sagall

    Jason was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio. He was born in Illinois and currently reside in California, USA, where he works in the field of Information Technology, and is a freelance web consultant hyperacuity.net. His favorite Rock and Metal subgenres include Classic, Progressive, and Power. He is a guitar fanatic and listen to a lot of Instrumental Rock and Fusion. Jason has been playing guitar as a hobby for some 25 years.  

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