Aviations, a progressive metal act based out of Boston Massachusetts, are clearly starting to make a name for themselves by recently announcing a show that has been booked with another prog act that you may be familiar with; Ever Forthright. To this, I raise a brow as my interest in them peaks.
However, to be completely honest, the first riff of the intro song (titled Nineties Nine Ties) had me thinking this was going to be a pretty generic listen until the reverb saturated guitars kicked in. At that point, I knew there was going to be something more to Aviations than a cookie cutter construct. I would also like to take a second to talk bass here; this song has me so intrigued by the bass lines that I must AM REQUIRED to mention this. It underlies the low end of the composition, but has a voice of its own – bass players: take note of 1:30 through 2:12. This is what you should be doing! Well done, Aviations. Well done, indeed. It’s not very often that I get to hear the bass wander too far out of the guitars shadow, and being a bass player myself, I truly appreciate this. Also take note of the Thrice-esque bass lines throughout III. Raised Expectations that subtly push their way up through the composition.
Speaking of Thrice, I don’t think I truly appreciated the elegance of electronic brush strokes across the aural canvas until I heard it employed in the Alchemy Index albums. The gracefulness of the electronic incorporations in II. Arrival embodies a sound that could have been pulled directly from a group of unreleased Thrice sessions.
I. Voyages is a departure from the typical riffage that you might expect as well, but it’s a very welcome departure at that. Elevated vocals tidy up the track quite nicely and certainly complement the melodic guitar work. The opening phrases are enough to compare Adam Benjamin to Spencer Sotelo of Periphery fame. It’s fresh, yet at the same time familiar. The entire album faithfully utilizes clean vocals, and utilizes them very well at that. Even when these guys kick the heavy into overdrive, you’re not going to hear any dirty screams (save for a few group yells) – and it’s one of the most beautiful things I’ve heard in a long while.
Things really start to get intense with Intents In Tents. This gem has ripped a little piece of every page straight out of the prog bible and pasted them into a scary looking collage that might be misconstrued as a ransom letter to someone who doesn’t understand prog. This song even has a swing/lounge interlude half way through! Upright spurious walking bass line included! What?! No! I mean, yes! It’s just too good! And do I hear an xylophone?! Well played, gentlemen. The delicate attention to detail strikes again in Outliers as a serene intro leads into the full band attack; so much so that it gave me goosebumps. Twice. I had to rewind and make sure the goosebumps were real… and it did it to me twice in a row – and even a third time at about half way through! The progressions between sections throughout this song, and the entire album in general, are unequivocally unmatched. Aviations does such a great job at weaving each and every phrase together that I can’t help but be jealous. It all happens so naturally and never at any point feels forced.
A Declaration of Sound does an excellent job capturing the liveliness and embodiment of the essence of progressive metal. This little six track snippet of a look into what I’m sure is only a sampling of what these guys are capable of has me extremely excited to see where the band will go from here. This is one of those albums that I feel I’m going to find myself listening to on repeat for a quite while. There’s so much to take in that it definitely warrants at least two to three listens in a row. Now shut up and take my money, Aviations!