Check Out Metalcore Quintet AVANTI's EP "Unscathed"
Melodic Metalcore, Post Hardcore/Independent/Released June 9, 2018
With metalcore being one of the last "trendy" genres of metal, it suffers a lot from an oversaturation of bland and copycat bands. So when you can dig through the pile and find a band that's not just another sing/scream/breakdown formula act it's always a treat. And Cincinnati quintet Avanti is one such band worth giving a listen to.
Avanti walk the line of modern metalcore and post-hardcore and would be right at home among the Warped Tour metalcore scene. Similar to artists like The Word Alive and blessthefall, the band puts melody at the forefront of their songs and use chug riffs and screamed vocals more as tools of emphasis rather than the primary focus. Also like the later work of Of Mice & Men and Asking Alexandria, the band mixes in a tinge of hard rock flavor into the melodic side of their sound.
Unscathed is the second EP from Avanti that follows their 2017 debut Convictions. While Convictions was a heavier record, the band more seamlessly blends their heavy and melodic elements on their follow up. There is also a greater diversity in the track list, making for a more well rounded record that better explores the group’s melodic side.
Despite the melodic focus, Unscathed’s opener “Friend To Friend” utilizes near exclusive screamed vocals. Frontwoman Jasmyne England performs much more of the aggressive vocals on this record with bassist Kerry Brooks providing screams primarily as interplay with England’s melodic singing. “Friend To Friend” makes strong use of chug riffs in its first half with melodic leads contrasting the aggressive vocals in the chorus. The track’s last act goes hard on dissonant guitar work to make for a heavy close to grab your attention in the first track.
The following track “Divide” is the lead single from the album that promotes a positive message of unity. The song is a little more straightforward in structure with a big, melodic chorus as it’s anchor, a heavy intro and outro verse, and a melodically sung middle verse that makes it sound radio ready, but avoids dipping into cheesy territory. From third track “Some Semblance Of Sympathy” onward is the strongest portion of the record with this track being very melodic overall. The hook for this song is very strong and flows effortlessly with the instrumentation of the track making it feel less formulaic. Instead of conventional verse/chorus structure the song is built around it’s hook that becomes more layered and builds as it’s repeated giving the song a progressing crescendo
“The Outside” is a favorite from the record that makes the most of the band having two vocalists. England and Brooks trade off lines making for a dynamic melody that gives the song a Jekyll & Hyde structure between melody and aggression and keeps things interesting from start to finish. “Stockholm Syndrome” is a big outlier sound wise from the rest of the record. This track is a straight up hard rock song with an earworm of a chorus and a super catchy main riff that resembles Code Orange’s “Bleeding In The Blur”. It’s my personal favorite of the EP with its infectious melody and fun factor.
Closer “To Silence We Turn” is the longest and most structurally complex song of the record. As any good closer does, the song showcases Avanti flexing their songcraft. Each verse is musically different from the other and it balances the melodic and aggressive moods well. The chorus is one of the EP’s strongest and the track contains an atmospheric bridge that flows into a good old fashioned metalcore breakdown.
While Avanti doesn’t reinvent the melodic metalcore wheel they polish it to a bright shine. There’s enough twist and turns in their songwriting that keep Unscathed interesting and the band’s technical ability, especially from its vocalists, keep the group from sounding like another cookie cutter act. A dynamic track list and quality songwriting are at the heart of every good record. And “Unscathed” holds those traits highly above a sea of rinse & repeat core bands.