Review – Avandra – Prodigal

Progressive-metal stars AVANDRA return with their new album, ‘Prodigal‘. With a passion for non-standard time signatures, electronics and technical elements, the band have produced a concept album that explores the meaning of ‘home’ and the freedom to attain your own destiny. ‘Prodigal’ follows the protagonist through a difficult journey of loss and betrayal; from joining the military only to discover they were responsible for the bombing and destruction of his home, to returning and rebuilding.

A towering behemoth of thunderous guitars, violent drumming and monolithic bass playing all backed by the wonderful and melodic soaring vocals, ‘Prodigal’ is quite a powerful statement. An elegant journey into the intensity that progressive-metal can create, highlights abound throughout this impressive collection. There’s the clever, restrained feel in opener Codename: Pharoah that continues with the excellent The Downpour with its every so memorable and haunting chorus. Occasional harsh vocals along with soaring cleans produce a dynamic contrast that really lingers in the memory throughout the album. The rueful, sombre and wistful notes of New Beginnings and the dignified piano and atmospheric synths of In Träumen showcase a softer, more reflective side to the band which is highlighted fully with the exceptional Facing an Armoured Dreadnaught. In Memoriam is just a fast paced destroyer of polished progressive metal and the superbly chaotic and dissonant Dissembling the Artifice will literally blow your mind with its fevered intensity. All of this energy and dynamism comes to a frenetic close with Daybreak, a dramatic conclusion to the events that have gone before.

AVANDRA have created a thrilling and compelling take on the progressive-metal genre and one that is delivered with not a little expertise and finesse. ‘Prodigal’ is one of those intricate and influential albums that takes some understanding at first but when you peel back the final layer of this epic behemoth, it is a wonder to behold.

Released 18th November, 2022.

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