Ava Inferi could be described as metal's Norwegian/Portuguese connection. The band was founded in Portugal by Norwegian guitarist Rune Eriksen, aka Blasphemer (who is well known in death metal/black metal circles for his contributions to the notorious Mayhem), but all of the other members are Portuguese, including lead singer Carmen Simões, bassist Jaime S. Ferreira, and drummer João Samora. The very fact that Ava Inferi includes a member of Mayhem will make some fans of Nordic death metal and black metal want to check this 50-minute CD out, but Ava Inferi is neither death metal nor black metal -- and The Silhouette doesn't sound anything like Mayhem. This 2007 recording (the band's second album) favors gothic metal; in fact, Ava Inferi has a lot more in common with Lacuna Coil, Moonspell (another gothic metal band founded in Portugal) and Nightwish than they do with Mayhem. Female lead singers are not hard to find in gothic metal, and Simões is the quintessential goth vocalist; favoring Euro-classical overtones, the expressive Simões brings a darkly ethereal quality to gloomy, brooding tracks like "Oathbound," "La Stanza Nera" (that's Italian for "The Black Room" even though the lyrics are in English), "Viola" and "Grin of Winter." Simões has an impressive vocal range, and she is a major asset to Ava Inferi on a highly musical album that rocks but is never heavy-handed; even at its heaviest, The Silhouette is never flat-out vicious. The Silhouette is not groundbreaking -- Europe is full of gothic metal bands that embrace this type of sound -- but is a very listenable album that gets high marks for craftsmanship and musicality. And Blasphemer leaves no doubt that he is quite capable of functioning outside of a death metal/black metal environment.
The Silhouette Review
by Alex Henderson