Adrien G. Gzagg (autor/composer/Lead singer/synths and orchestrations) Jeff Kanji (lead singer; additional voices and guitars) Lucas Martinez (guitars) Camille Souffron (Bass) Leo Mouchonay (Drums)
Time for some escapism! Mark spoke to Avaland for us all a month or so ago and seems to have had a blast! I believe they were great fun to talk to, and this French-based band is leading a new charge for prog rock in 2023.
And why not? Prog rock has always been part of the rock family. I’m going to go straight into the review!
1. The Vision – 2:03
We are thrown right into the world of the concept album with an instrumental introduction and some spoken words. We have sorcerers, witches, a civil war, and dragons, so it is fantasy, “Game of Thrones,” and rock n’ roll.
2. Crimson Tyranny – 6:45
Now the album kicks into gear! Hard riffs, a catchy melody, and a crunching chorus The drums are on point from Leo Mouchonay, and the guitars deliver the goods.
3. Insurrection – 4:42
Another really great intro into the song; this is a band that knows how to set up a song. The vocal harmonies are strong here, and the band knows how to turn up the amps.
4. To Be The King – 4:34
I like the synth on this, and again, the drum sound is pretty solid. It has a good sing-along chorus section; I could see this one going down a storm live.
5. Secret Night – 3:24
On the subject of introductions to a song, this was unexpected! It takes us into the world of the medieval balladeer. I could picture the traveling storyteller of old sitting at the feet of Anne Boleyn! It was certainly interesting vocally and instrumentally, and for me, this was something I would listen to on a late evening in the garden on the swing seat (preferably with a glass in hand) and children playing nearby. I liked it quite a lot!
6. Kingslayer 4:10
Back to a swaggering prog rock sound, “Kingslayer” is a confident fist puncher, the vocals work well, and the harmonies again add depth to the sound.
7. The Gift – 4:48
This one hits the ground running and rarely stops! I didn’t really take to this one; it has some solid guitar work but doesn’t leave much of an impact on this listener.
8. Out Of The Fog – 5:11
This is better! It starts with a piano before sliding into a great guitar. The vocals switch, and the band works really hard on this very positive number. When Mark spoke to the band for the feature we did, I knew this was his favourite, and I can see why. It is an enjoyable rock number that I’d return to.
Adrien- This track is the one with the most hope. For the inspiration we took from Meatloaf with the piano, it has a powerful middle. However, once the instruments were finished, Jeff felt there was something missing, so we borrowed something from Marillion with the synthesizer to add more energy and fillings.
9. Betrayers – 5:23
This one keeps up the momentum, and the album seems to have really found a gear. I preferred “Out of the Fog,” but this keeps the story going and is another thumping live number.
10. Madness Of The Wise – 5:27
Avaland does have the ability to change direction when it’s needed. The album is constructed to be heard in a certain order; it takes us back to the days when how the artist placed the song in the album mattered. This one delivers the madness that is taking over the master. It is very much an album track, and it signals the turn to the closing numbers.
11. You’ll Be The Legend – 5:17
This again opens really interestingly; the vocals are overlaid on this rather good piano melody. It is almost a ballad, somewhat dreamy, and sets the tone for the closer.
12. Lies – 10:29
A strong closer with plenty of old fashioned power rock to officially end the album.
(Bonus Track – La Folie Du Sage)
a French version for “The Madness of the Wise.”
Album Length: 1:02:19
As a reviewer, there is a big difference between listening for a review and saying it’s good, and then actually listening again in your own time! One of the reasons we are all friends in the magazine is that all four of us have a love of medieval and Tudor history as well as music. Now, as you can tell I loved “Secret Night,” and it got better on the second listen. It is right there on the playlist. But it may not be to everyone’s taste. The album also delivered a range of great arena tracks, some great vocal harmony, and some memorable chorus lines that will go down a storm live.
We can hear from Adrien again,
Your upcoming album, how do you think it will be received by fans?
We hope the album will stay stuck in our future fans’ heads! They have already been stuck in my head for so long… We really expect that some people will find some anthems in this album.
What kind of listening experience is the band trying to give fans with this album and its singles?
This album, like the first, is a journey, a trip out of our world, into the universe of Avaland. I enjoy seeing Avaland as a great saga, as a movie or series. I feel like listening to Avaland is like watching Game of Thrones, The Lord of the Rings, or reading comics : it’s an escape from every day’s life.
You can tell the hard work and dedication that have gone into this symphonic metal/prog rock album, and the real connection the band has with the music. If you want to escape the troubles of the day and enjoy an album with anthemic vocals and nail-biting guitar, do yourself a favour and give this one a listen!
By Lorraine Foley