AVOWD – Vol. 2 Review

I grew up not too far from Chicago, Illinois, otherwise known as the Windy City or Second City. I prefer the latter. I don’t know why; it just sounds cooler. Of course, Chicago is home to bands I grew up listening to that shaped the musical taste of a youngster diving headfirst into the heavier side of music: Ministry, Pelican, Master, and yes, say what you will, but The Smashing Pumpkins. As a Midwesterner, these bands meant a lot to me and still do. And as a fan of black metal, I always get stoked to see a new band emerge from our shadows.

So, without further ado…

Release date: April 5, 2024. Label: Self-released
From the winds of the Second City breathes an entity known as AVOWD, a two-piece dissonant black metal band comprised of two individuals known as MP and MT. If you read my year-end list for 2023, you may have seen them pop up in my rundown of the top five EPs and demos. Nonetheless, if you’re unfamiliar, you’re in for a treat.

I think I’ve said it countless times, but there is something so unique about black metal and how it can transport its listeners to another realm. Of course, it’s one of—if not—the darkest form of music on our plane of existence, and when done right, there’s nothing quite like it, to be fair. So, perhaps I’m coming into this review with a bit of a bias, but then again, I don’t think I am. Occasionally, I’ll pat myself on the back for being ahead of the curve when discovering a band before the masses—I guess it’s the gatekeeper in me. And I want that for you, too, so I’m sharing the good word with you…right now.

First and foremost, let’s trace AVOWD’s steps back to 2023 when they released Vol. I. Clocking in at 18 minutes, the demo was simply a taste of the new EP they bestowed upon us earlier in April 2024. Upon my first listen, it was clear they were channeling a more dissonant, chaotic form of the genre, but that’s not to say the primitive influences weren’t there either. Vocally, it’s violent with high-pitched screeches. That becomes evident in the intro track “Spectre of Nadezhda.” Here, you’ll discover the hypnotic yet hectic and frigid riffing. Throughout the demo, particularly on other tracks like the aforementioned “Spectre of Nadezhda” and “Dreams of Purgatory,” you’ll find traces of trilogy-era DsO or Blut Aus Nord. There are also these arpeggios with some of the most sinister vocals I’ve heard in quite some time bellowed out over them, most notably on the closer, “Voice of the Ancients.” AVOWD has a particularly incredible talent of teetering on the edge of uncontrolled chaos. When you think it’s about to tip, they find a way to keep things organized—in the most beautiful, cacophonous way.

That brings us to the two-track follow-up. AVOWD’s new EP, Vol. 2, features a killer cover of Death in June’s “Hollows of Devotion.” However, for the original piece, “Perpetual Utopian Ruin,” a 16-minute epic of pure violence and wretchedness, AVOWD reiterates what made their first demo so great. Of course, you’ll hear the dissonance. Still, with the main offering running nearly as long as their initial demo’s entirety, they do a phenomenal job of letting moments breathe, creating a journey that genuinely ebbs and flows. The swirling riffs are still there. Vocally, it’s still top-notch. But the perfectly placed slowed time signatures makes “Perpetual Utopian Ruin” a dark, brilliant piece of music. All of this, which builds to the madness that is the final five minutes of the track, showcases just how strong the songwriting is within the band, too. I’m also a sucker for those second-wave-inspired moments you’d find on something like De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas.

As for the Death in June cover, I give it two thumbs up. It’s a complete 180 from the original—duh—but it remains true to the AVOWD sound, maintaining the artistic integrity of the song.

Back to one of my original points: it’s super kvlt to be ahead of the curve. I say that jokingly, but if you’re interested in the underground and superb black metal, do not pass up on the opportunity to check out this AVOWD release. These dudes have the chance to do some great things for the USBM scene. Oh, and try not to fall into a void of complete and total disorder while listening.

Posted by Josh Heath

Taller than Glenn Danzig, but shorter than a funeral doom LP. Lover of riffs and cheesy horror films. Hot wing connoisseur. On Twitter or X, whatever: @CatacombsMedia

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.