The Divine Tragedy

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With his impressive debut album, 2007's The Divine Tragedy, Illinois native Aamonael launches his one-man musical endeavor, Avichi, into the fray of America's ever more respectable underground black metal scene (no longer the butt of Scandinavian jokes, thanks to world-level triumphs by the likes of Agalloch, Xasthur, and Leviathan, to name but a few). In other words, he's fortunate that the trail has already been blazed on his behalf, but likewise faced with higher expectations right from the outset, so it's a good thing that, besides bursting confidently into action via the mood-setting cymbals piece "Entrance to God" and a trio of high-velocity onslaughts, "Purification Within the Eighth Sphere," "Messianic Deliverance," and "Phallic Insinuation," The Divine Tragedy's lyrics are steeped in especially evocative occult imagery. In addition, it quickly becomes apparent that Aamonael has an appreciation for, and understanding of, the benefits of incorporating softer dynamics to even the bleakest, most misanthropic sonic endeavor. And thus, the album's second half is distinguished by admirably restrained, deliberate, and harmonic compositions such as "Taedium Vitae" and the mournful instrumentals "Prayer for Release" and "Aeonic Disintegration." Both facets of Avichi's songwriting are pulled off with great imagination and aplomb, and while it's a little too early to crown its creator, Aamonael, alongside the aforementioned American black metal standard bearers, consider The Divine Tragedy his well-heeled bid for eventual admittance (sooner than later) into the club.

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