Averlanche – The Dark Side Of Atlas

10 min read

Band: Averlanche
Title: The Dark Side Of Atlas (EP)
Label: Independent
Release date: April 26th, 2024
Country: Finland
Format reviewed: High-Quality Digital Recording

“Immerse yourself in the melodic metal mastery of Averlanche’s EP “The Dark Side of Atlas’ . Travel through haunting melodies, explosive riffs and dynamic compositions that showcase the band’s musical prowess. From Mikael Salo’s raw, exquisite vocal intensity to intricate guitar solos and captivating rhythms, experience the merciless, deep vortex of emotions in every song. Join Averlanche on an adventure through the dark and enchanting realms of their music” 

By Elyna Steel

Founded in 2017, Averlanche is a melodic metal band from Helsinki. Led by German vocalist Rebecca Spörl, who moved to Finland in 2014 to form a metal band, Averlanche quickly gained traction on the local scene. Rebecca landed her role after traveling from Turku to Helsinki for an audition, joining forces with Antti Kopra on keyboards, Otto Haalahti on guitar, Joonas Hämäläinen on bass and Antti Pätsi on drums to complete the line-up. Influenced by Finnish heavy metal of the 90s and early 2000s, Averlanche‘s sound is noticeable by catchy melodies and Rebecca’s sweet, powerful vocals. 

After a year of touring and working on the new album, the band released four singles and three music videos leading up to the launch of “Arctic Atlas” on May 12th, 2023. Towards the end of 2023, Joona Tirkkonen joined the group as their new bass player. Presently, they are planning a tour and collaborating on fresh material. Their new EP is “The Dark Side of Altas”, released on April 26, containing 3 songs from “Arctic Atlas”, with 3 alternative versions featuring Mikael Salo. 

So now, let’s delve into each of these chapters. 

“She and The Dark Winter” is the opening track, running for 03:19’. It appears twice on the EP, being this version performed by Rebecca. It has a sober yet beautiful lyric video, with a bluish color palette resembling winter, snow and cold. I loved it. 

Winter, the snow and the cold are the set for the story that showcases a homeless little angel, a devil around waiting for her in the dark, a lift offering and a no-return trip to nowhere. The little angel innocently accepted the lift offer of someone, perhaps escaping from a snowy, cold night. The stranger driver seemed to her as if he was a kind being. Somehow she felt safe in the presence of that being for a while. But suddenly, the angel’s perception shattered like fragile ice by discovering the true nature of the seemingly benevolent stranger- none other than a devil in disguise. The warmth she felt became horror as the devil’s intentions became clear.  Now she is a specter of sorrow, weeping snow tears that melt into the icy voice. Her cries are an echo through the place, a haunting lament for the innocence lost and the cruelty of fate. She is forever gone, remaining frozen somewhere in space and time.

This lyric moved me very much. It is inevitable to think about those little angels who wander through the cities, homeless, far from love and are attracted by demons disguised as human beings who enslave them, mistreat them, use them to satisfy their bestial instincts and in many cases kill them. They are homeless children, so who will claim them? Who will look for them? Who would wonder where they are? Nobody. We are all too busy to think about little winter angels. Some lyrics invite reflection. Moving and thought-provoking lyrics! 

The composition is in a 4/4 time signature at a mid to fast tempo. All instruments kick off simultaneously, yet, to my ears, the keyboards stand out in this initial segment, evoking a sensation of ‘cold air’. The formidable rhythmic base and riffs darken and yield to Rebeca’s entrance. I can’t help feeling a journey back in time as I listen to her. In a sense, Rebecca’s voice makes me feel young again, transporting me to my 17s when I first discovered Liv Kristine, the enchanting voice of Theater of Tragedy. Rebecca possesses a sweet, yet commanding timbre that aligns perfectly with the essence of the lyrics. The melody sets a solid foundation with a commanding sound juxtaposing beautifully with the vocals.

The chorus “progressively” flows, with subtle variations in rhythm that infuse dynamism into the song. The melody feels dizzying yet delicate. The vocals ascend luminously, sweet, reminiscent of an angel’s echo—I’ve met Liv Kristine again, and it’s enchanting.

The second verses and chorus keep the same structure as their predecessors. Then a bridge ensues. The atmosphere takes on a darker hue for some seconds—like entering a tunnel, a somber space—courtesy of the commanding bass and potent drums. Then, Rebecca sings at soaring pitches, almost operatic, like echoes in the distance. Another brief yet exquisite bridge follows, featuring only the voice and piano in an emotive duet that paves the way for the final chorus. With a structure akin to the previous, the song concludes on a darker note, with Rebecca delivering soaring, radiant notes. Dramatic, gorgeous closing. 

There is another feature that captured my attention; small, fleeting laments echoing in different portions of the track, which make the lyric even more shocking – you imagine the little angel crying, suffering. Thank you for this ride guys!

“Atlas of Hearts – Alternative Version” is track 2, lasting for 03:16’ and featuring Mikael Salo on vocals. This song is part of the album Arctic Atlas released on May 12, 2023.  By the way, the title of this song caught my attention. It reminded me of the title of a book called “Atlas of The Heart” by Brene Brown whose main topic is meaningful human connections. 

The lyrics of this song are deeply reflective. It tells us about the challenges in a relationship about to fail, the search for redemption and forgiveness, and the fight against past mistakes. One of the two protagonists is the one who narrates his journey to make the relationship last, but the coldness of the counterpart makes any hope of salvation almost impossible. Then he pleads to the Atlas of Hearts asking it to save them from cold love – the routine, the years, the lack of affection, everything that freezes the hearts of lovers and makes love shipwreck, leaving it in darkness. 

Full of poetic images and intense emotions, “Altas of Hearts” is an invitation to reflect on the depth, complexity and fragility of human relationships, an attempt to draw a map that allows us to reunite with those we love, whether to continue the hand or to part ways in peace.

The song is in a mid-tempo signature at a 4/4 pace yet has progressive elements that blew my mind. It starts with somber keyboards and a mysterious rhythmic base that immediately transported me to a carriage, traveling in the middle of the night storm through the Carpathians, on my way to hunt vampires at Bran Castle. After the intro, the interlude is dark, with a slower pulse and with several progressions in the drums and guitar. Mikael enters the stage singing the first verses full of power, brightness, and vocal progressions. At times it seems like you are listening to Symphony X and Russell Allen through Mikael’s vocal cords, yet he stands out. The mysterious keyboard in the background further highlights Mikael’s vocal mastery.  It is simply overwhelming, and impressive! 

The second interlude before the spectacular chorus section is similar in its hue and vibe to the intro, yet briefer.

The chorus varies in pulse and tempo, the rhythmic base and the guitars crash all around and Mikael sings rising scales in vocal harmonizations and the chills explode. Make sure you wear a coat when listening to this song because it will give you chills from start to finish! 

The composition remains stable until the second verse. Here keyboards appear, resembling the sound of the wind in the middle of a heavy storm, and I swear having heard Rebeca’s voice in the background in a duet with the keyboard. Maybe you listen to something different though. After this, first powerful guitar riffs and then keyboards that remind me of that of Dream Theater take the center of the stage, always supported by the solid rhythmic base, leading to the outro section – the perfect chorus and then some final lines at a faster pace. Mikael Salo here singing insane high notes that no one can master like him! Arctic Atlas! is the final warcry, closing this astonishing ride.

As you may know, my favorite music style is power/progressive metal, so this is one of my favorite tracks from the EP, amazing job guys! 

The third track is another of my favorites, “Arctica – Alternative Version” with Mikael Salo featuring vocals, running for 03:41’. A deep love, separation and loss, and the inner desire to surpass any difference – even religious ones – set the base for the story.  After many years of walking together and despite exhaustion, tiredness and distance between two beings, love still exists with the same intensity of the beginning, reflected in a fleeting moment that seems like a lifetime where the connection and depth of that love becomes clear. The frozen air stops time, and the two lovers recognise themselves as a whole, a single soul in two bodies. 

However, there are goodbyes. “Arctica”, the loved one vanishes without a trace, without signs of where he or she has gone. Even so, love continues to exist, it is as deep and eternal as infinite ice and no force in this world can turn it off, or freeze it. This is true love: eternal, strong, unconditional.

I love these lyrics! Brief, but beautifully meaningful and universal. We have all loved like this, or we will come to do so, despite differences of any kind, love is always stronger.

The composition is in a 4/4 at mid-fast tempo yet the acoustic intro goes slower. It also showcases some progressive passages which bring dynamism to the overall. It kicks with emotional acoustic guitars, which bring back pleasant reminiscences of the opening of two songs: “Dreams Come True” by Hammerfall and “The Bard Song” by Blind Guardian. Rebecca’s velvety voice enters, accompanying the sweet, slow melody, as a ballad. 

The shift between this intro and the following intermezzo is simply spectacular! It brings me face to face with the melodic spirit of Symphony X, Angra, and Sonata Arctica coming further back.

An insane explosion of speed, power, and energy, it’s awesome! Chills all around guaranteed. The pulse fastens, and the crushing riffs are also melodic, and brilliant. The drums are intense enough to make me headbang almost uncontrollably and the background keyboards…OMG! More chills down the very spine. It unites everything so brightly, so emotionally, amazing performance of you all guys! 

There is a shift in the pulse at the first verses, slowing and Mikael Salo is in charge of the following vocals. Impressive as always! A perfect balance of power, energy, brightness and melody in his unparalleled voice, reinforced by the commanding rhythmic section, keyboards and catchy riffs.  

The chorus is voice and keyboard-driven. Mikael’s high register plus the high notes of the keyboard complement each other perfectly, giving a sensation of exquisite arctic cold.  The second verse fastens the pulse, double drums till the second chorus. The voice is more aggressive here, delightful. Then we reach a dynamic bridge, all about nuances and different textures. Progressive, melodic, and even symphonic elements for then heading a guitar solo section. Harmonic, shining. slides, pickings, and tappings. It is one of those solos where the guitar “sings”, wonderful! 

The final chorus explodes with Mikael’s harmonic vocals perfectly executed, and impeccable. Mikael is the undisputed protagonist of this closing, whose power makes your skin crawl. Guys, this song is incredible, listen to it with good headphones and at maximum volume, because the experience is sublime.

The final track is “She and The Dark Winter – Alternative Version ” performed by Mikael Salo. This version has the same musical structure and timing as track 1, yet conveys completely different feelings than Rebecca’s performance. The contrast is striking. While Rebeca’s rendition conveys fragility and innocence, Mikael makes me feel something similar to rage, impotence, and anguish expressed with raw intensity. 

It is as if Rebecca’s version embodies the agony of the Little angel, while Mikael’s rendition echoes the desperate cries of all the angels in Heaven seeing how they lose one of their little ones. It is as if the voices of the parents, of the people of the place where the little angel lived united in Mikael’s voice to tell the painful story so that an innocent angel would never again go through so much pain. Track 4 is incredibly emotional, and powerful. And I must say that here the influence of Russell Allen on Mikael’s voice is noticeable, and it is charming because even so, Mikael Salo has a unique voice, he is not a copy of anyone but a diamond that shines with his light and brilliance. Absolutely flawless!

Averlanche‘s EP, “The Dark Side of Atlas” takes us on a captivating journey through love, loss, death, pain and the search for redemption. Each song delves into lost innocence, the complexities of human connections, and the enduring strength of love in the midst of adversity.

The sweet fragility of Rebecca Spörl’s voice contrasts masterfully with the raw and exquisite intensity of Mikael Salo, whose presence on “The Dark Side of Atlas” not only showcases his exceptional talent but also highlights his ability to embody the essence of the music, adding layers of depth and complexity to each composition.

In brief, “The Dark Side of Atlas‘ by Averlanche shows the band’s versatility and ability to evoke a variety of emotions, inviting us to reflect on the complexity and depth of human experience, in addition to marking its presence in the metal scene. melodic.Without a doubt, an EP that every fan of the style will appreciate and enjoy.

Therefore, it is my pleasure to rank Averlanche’s  EP “The Dark Side of Atlas“: 10/10 by Elynna

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10/10 Immortal Classic
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