Hailing from New South Wales, Australia, Under Night’s Cover are on a mission to make their mark on the metal scene with their debut EP, ‘The March of Avernus.’ Judging by the fresh-faced visages pictured in the booklet, Under Night’s Cover are a young band, but make no mistake: These lads can play. The level of musicianship on ‘The March of Avernus’ is strikingly impressive, with special recognition owing to guitarists Jacob Cummins and Hayden Weidner, who pull out all the stops with breathtaking virtuoso passages in every song. The rhythm section of Mark Garroway (bass) and Alasdair Belling (drums) is no less accomplished, tossing in everything from a killer bass solo to even occasional blastbeats when the situation calls for it.
So yeah, these youngsters are kick-ass musicians, but how’s the material? Really good, actually. Under Night’s Cover are definitely a modern heavy metal band, playing fast-paced, thrashy and sometimes downtuned (or maybe seven-string) metal with clean vocals and tons of twists and turns. I’ve seen the band compare themselves to Nevermore and Symphony X, and I definitely agree with both of those points of reference. Left to my own devices, however, I would describe ‘The March of Avernus’ as sounding like something of a hybrid between the modern UK metal attack of Hellfighter (vocalist Johnny Guagliardo sometimes comes across as a dead ringer for Hellfighter’s Simon Gordon) and the high-energy but technically proficient thrash of Heathen. The 5 proper tunes on display (there’s also an intro) are lengthy, most exceeding 6 minutes with a total running time of 34 minutes. Despite the duration of the tunes, the relative inexperience of the members, and the flashy playing, Under Night’s Cover’s songs feel cohesive, like finished songs rather than just a collection of parts. The choruses and hooks are there for those who care to listen past the guitar pyrotechnics. Check out the 8-minute beast “Depraved,” for example, and you’ll find yourself singing along with Guagliardo in no time with your fist in the air: “Stripped bare and shameless / We the worthless, we the nameless / Doomed to failure / Depraved!” Or the blistering thrash of closer “Oubliette,” where the punishing music is juxtaposed brilliantly with a killer vocal melody. Really good stuff. No doubt, Under Night’s Cover are onto something here. If your tastes run towards the dark, modern, thrashy end of the spectrum, then ‘The March of Avernus’ is a no-brainer.
~ Review by Kit Ekman~