Call of Avernus is full of sharp and slightly distorted guitars to really nail the old school vibe that they are going for. The buzzing instrumentals and pummeled drums have a great amount of effectiveness throughout all nine tracks on the record. Themes that could be present in a stoner rock act follow along as well, typically being a mythical creature or adventure that is being portrayed from song-to-song. The themes and lyrics are one of the more disappointing elements for my taste, using looped verses to tell the stories in too obvious of ways, but the instrumentals and strong sense of purpose tend to make up for for it.
There are plenty of good tracks on this re-issue but only a few tracks really hit as hard as a doom rock act would be expected to do. The title track of the album comes early but hits hard on all the right parts. The riffs are heavy early, the rhythm section is one of the best present here, and it becomes a real head-banger. “Dance of Dionysus” is the best track by a mile though. Being the fastest opening on Call of Avernus gives it an early leg up, also featuring an amazing drum line to bob your head to. When I think of doom rock instrumentals, this is exactly what I have come to expect. Something fast, furious, and filled with power.
There are a few disappointing aspects to this debut album as well though. Despite having a lot of good tracks to indulge the listener’s ears, most of the album feels pretty similar in tone from beginning to end. Aside from a few tracks that ramp up the energy a bit, most songs are mid-tempo and feature the basic formula for a doom rock outfit. The vocals are good overall but the mixing makes them feel too distant on every track. Without having a strong vocal performance throughout, the lyrics fall too flat which can hurt the overall themes present.
Call of Avernus is a rock solid debut album for any band, and it is easy to see why Alunah have left a strong impression on the rock community. The instrumental work is constantly moving forward with a good semblance of energy and power, while the stories add just enough depth to leave a decent impression as well. There are a few mixing shortcomings and accessibility forces the record to lose some more of the harder passages, but this is still a good record to enjoy. Call of Avernus is a good example of fusing mainstream rock with doom metal to enjoyable effects for all involved.
1. Living Fast in an Ancient Land
2. Call of Avernus
3. Song of the Sun
4. Magick Lantyrn
5. Eternal Sea
6. Dance of Dionysus
7. Circle of Stone
9. Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn