AVENFORD – New Beginning
Starting in 2012, Hungarian power metal band Avenford have evolved into a potent quartet for their second full-length "New Beginning". Gaining a new rhythm section with bassist Tom Longbottom and drummer Jivodar Dimitrov, the original duo of guitarist/vocalist Arpie Gamson and guitarist Peter Szehoffner wisely sought out the recording services of Masterplan’s Roland Grapow to give these 11 songs more punch and dynamics, sure to elicit hearty applause for those who love melodic anthems and double bass, synchronized keyboard/guitar workouts amidst the catchy choruses and soaring vocals.
The needle drops on a static-filled vinyl record sound effect, giving way to a sturdy set of riffs in that Firewind tradition for opener "Dead or Alive", featuring guest vocals from ex-Firewind’s Apollo Papathanasio which probably isn’t that ironic considering the up-tempo nature of this cut. The follow up "Back in Time" possesses a modern touch through the cyber-electro pop keyboards and a comfortable, high register chorus, something one could expect from say Helloween meets Masterplan as Arpie has a lot of those Johnny Gioeli meets Jorn Lande qualities to his voice. Not everything is speedy, the bluesy, reflective side comes out on the 7:27 epic title cut, as Peter and Arpie weave cleaner guitar action into a driving mid-section that is pure power metal gold, the twin harmonies alluring as the gritty verses and upper register chorus titillate the eardrums, sending shock waves of pleasure to the brain. Avenford excel in speedier dimensions, knowing how to just ride that syncopated keyboard/guitar neoclassical passage while keeping the double bass pumping – check into "Overlord" for this regard. The record closes on the straightforward anthem track "Unholy Game" where we get some wah wah guitar action and sultry bass play – proving Avenford can navigate adequately at varying tempos and still deliver strong hooks and melodies.
Add in guest guitar solos from Roland plus Bodor Mate of Alestorm among others and you have more than enough reasons to feel great about "New Beginning"- sure to be a favorite of 2017 in the power metal genre.