Dark Avenger: The Beloved Bones (2017)

Written by: Kev Rowland

Sadly, for the second time in just over a month, and I am reviewing an album where one of those involved has passed away at way too young an age. It was only when looking for some background information on the band that I came across a press release stating that singer Mario Linhares passed away on December 22nd, 2017: he was only 45. This album is my first introduction to the Brazilians, but this was their sixth release, having formed as long ago as 1993. Inspired to take their name from a Manowar track off the classic ‘Battle Hymns’ these guys combine various melodic metal genres together such as power, symphonic, prog and even thrash, giving their music a harder and faster identity than many in the field.

What is really surprising to me is that they’re not more widely known, especially if the other albums are anything like this quality. Mario had a great voice, controlled both at baritone and higher, able to really scream when he needs to, and with a resonance that shouts quality. Then added that is a band that are as tight as anyone could possibly wish, knowing how to crunch, or also when to take a break from proceedings and let Mario take the full stage such as on “King For A Moment”. But, there are also plenty of times when the band are all heads down and racing for the finish. The use of twin guitarists in a melodic style definitely gives the band an edge, especially with the harshness of the riffing. In many ways this is classic Savatage, but taken to a different, harsher level. Only a few South American bands have managed to make considerable impact on the wider world, with Angra being the closest comparison, but these guys should be talked about in the same context. Given the circumstances that may not now happen, which is a shame, as this is incredibly solid.

Rating: 7/10

Track list:
The Beloved Bones // Smile Back to Me // King for a Moment // This Loathsome Carcass // Parasite // Breaking Up, Again // Empowerment // Nihil Mind // Purple Letter // Sola Mors Liberat // When Shadow Falls


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