Review Summary: A compelling and engaging progressive metal record filled with energy.
If you thought prog metal could never be catchy, think again.
Aviations is a relatively unknown band, for whatever reason. They are a quintet from Boston, and released their debut, A Declaration Of Sound, in October 2012. Their style of prog metal is most comparable to bands like Corelia or Periphery, with intricate instrumentation and clean soaring vocals, that give the music a very warm feeling about it, and leave you with a good taste in your mouth. Aviations also avoid using any screamed vocals, which gives their music a more wide-reaching appeal. Jazz is also incorporated into many, if not all 6 songs here, with polyrhythms and odd time signatures being a regular thing for this band. The guitar tone is very warm and heavy, and can only be described as "djenty."
As far as lyrics or a concept go, the lyrics seem to focus on exploration and voyages, which makes the album feel like more of a journey in and of itself, especially with two songs reaching past seven minutes. The only problem I can see within the songs themselves is sometimes they feel too disjointed, like the structure was just thrown together instead of molded. There is no clear story displayed throughout A Declaration Of Sound, but there are themes that are present. For example, on Raised Expectation their singer Adam Benjamin sings,
"Shadows waiting, they watch as we make moves
On our way
Fallen from the stars,
Overcoming all odds,
Now we must venture on."
That is pretty much how the lyrics go throughout this entire album, and although they never come off as relatable or personal, Adam makes up for the mediocre lyrics with his top notch vocals. He usually sings at a high octave, but never comes off showy or girly in his singing; his voice just perfectly accompanies the instrumentation behind it. When this album isn't pummeling you with tight drums and heavy riffs, it's probably in one of their more jazzy sections. The most notable jazz section on here is in the middle of Intents In Tents, where the band just breaks down everything into a lively and vibrant passage featuring piano and upright bass.
Something that may turn people off from this album, is that certain times they use breakdowns, although they aren't your cookie cutter, dime-a-dozen breakdowns. On the songs Intents In Tents and Outliers, they show just how superb a chug-fest can be. The band refrains from overusing their chugging however, and instead they focus more on atmosphere on tracks like Arrival, and the intro to Outliers. Guest appearances are also prominent, with piano appearing on four out of six songs here, and a couple of welcome guest solos.
On this debut album, Aviations find themselves in the exact place any progressive metal band wants to find themselves in: catchy yet technical, heavy yet melodic, substantial yet pleasant.
- Interesting and alluring
- Talent displayed from every single band member
- Simply infectious
- Room for improvement in lyrics and song structure
Overall rating: 4.6/5