Righto, I’ll admit straight away, I’m confused by this CD. An American two piece multi instrumentalist studio album only band (as far as I can tell, please prove me wrong if they tour), on a small Swedish label, producing a CD that at 4 tracks is an EP, but at about 35 minutes is more then long enough for an LP, that describes itself as “doomy epic metal”, and on the promotional blurb concentrates on the professorial and novel writing skills of the members rather then their musicianship? I hope you can relate to my confusion. However, as a professional writer, albeit I get paid for writing legal reports rather then music reviews, it’s time to knuckle down, give the album a spin or three, and provide my honest views.
Opener, ‘They Write Their Names With Fire’ is a short, simple, no frills metal track very much in the ilk of Cirith Ungol or any number of early NWOBHM acts. uncomplicated riffs married to clean, non operatic vocals. So far, nothing to object to with a good nod of the head ensuing, but at the same time, a track off kilter with the rest of the album.
‘Advance of the War Giants’ follows, a twelve minute plus number that truly deserves the self described ‘epic’ label, opening with a nice riff that supports lyrics that sometimes sadly sound as if they are culled from a teenage session of a Dungeons & Dragons game. Again, let me point out I’m no stranger to the realms of dice throwing fantasy games having spent many happy hours in the realms of Call of Cthulhu before becoming a wage slave meant I could no longer indulge my hobby, but this track did sound like it should be the background music to a discussion by Lord of the Rings fans, complete with special effects of stone throwing trebucets.
‘Adrift Upon The Night Ocean’ follows, a track that meanders between Gothic melancholia and the prog noodlings of Steve Hackett, continually promising that it will build up to something majestic, but instead remaining at a single pace, atmospheric plucked guitars interspersed with occasionally busy drum rolls, the whole making it sound like all too earnest students who are fans early Genesis trying to recreate that band’s original sound.
The album closer and title track ‘Blue Flame Cavalry’ starts with a charging beat, suitably supported by the clarion call of a Ram’s horn before slowing down into a doom laden riff where the band finally, start to shine. After the eclectic mix of genres of the first three tracks, this one sounds far more in keeping with the first track, but again, with over 10 minutes to it’s name, never manages to hook me in, never ascending to the next level of sound that the musicianship of the band members keeps on hinting at so tantalisingly.
Were I an advocate of buying individual songs as the itunes generation seems to be, I would advise a fan of Ave Noctum to consider laying out 99p each for track one and track four. I just didn’t get the album as a whole, and maybe I’m wrong. However that’s what I’ve felt after multiple listens, and to the two members of the band who are so obviously better musicians then I ever could hope to be, apologies.