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Prog Metal Titans AVANDRA Stay Stylishly Sophisticated with "Beyond the Threshold Part 1: (Helios Awakens)" Video

The tune evokes Opeth, Haken, and Dream Theater while also showcases a healthy dose of enticing originality (and the accompanying visuals offer a great compromise between stylishness and relatability).

Avandra (Photo by Anthony Rivera)

Puerto Rican quartet Avandra have recently made quite a dent in the world of progressive metal. Last year, they released their stellar second album, Descender, on Blood Music, resulting in plenty of praise from outlets such as PROG, Angry Metal Guy, Sonic Perspectives, and or course, us! Naturally, the LP kicks off with a very absorbing opener, “Beyond the Threshold Part 1: (Helios Awakens),” whose brand-new music video you can check out below. Evoking modern icons like Opeth, Haken, and Dream Theater, the piece also showcases a healthy dose of enticing originality (and the accompanying visuals offer a great compromise between stylishness and relatability).

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Like many of their peers and predecessors—namely, Porcupine Tree—the band began as the one-man project of guitarist/keyboardist/vocalist Christian Ayala. Although he never set out to play live or expand the line-up, the first Avandra album, 2017’s Tymora, was celebrated enough to warrant doing so. Thus, guitarist Luis Javier Rivera, bassist Gabriel Alejandro Rodriguez, and drummer Adrián Arroyo joined shortly thereafter.

Avandra – 'Descender' Cover

Descender itself features a few big guest genre players, including guitarist Richard Henshall (Haken), keyboardist Kevin Moore (ex-Dream Theater, OSI), and Daniel Schwartz (Astronoid). As for “Beyond the Threshold Part 1: (Helios Awakens)”—whose music video is the second from the album, following “The Narrowing of Meaning”—Rodriguez says that it ties back to Tymora. He adds:

It’s a follow-up to the first two songs from the first album, but from the perspective of the ‘giver of fire,’ or Helios. In this part, Helios is awakened by the silent cries of man, who have lost their way and lack a horizon on which to anchor their goals. Now, flowing in a sea of confusion without any true direction, Helios is here as a remedy to that mystifying wound.

For the most part, it’s an instrumental track full of hypnotic keyboard and guitar riffs that work in tandem with invigorating rhythms. Fortunately, it emphasizes melody and emotion over overtly flashy musicianship (which isn’t to say that the playing isn’t highly impressive and technical, because it is). When Ayala does sing, he offers engrossingly somber verses full of prophetic narration that genre enthusiasts will love. Gratefully, the B&W video (directed by Luis Freddie Vazquez) doesn’t distract from those elements, focusing instead on dynamically composed quick cuts and close-ups of the quartet as they do what they do best.

Take a look and listen to “Beyond the Threshold Part 1: (Helios Awakens)” and let us know what you think! If it hits you as hard as it hits me, be sure to experience Descender in its entirety when you can. If all goes according to plan, you may also be able to catch them at ProgPower Europe this October, where they’ll share the stage with incredible acts like The Dear Hunter, Wilderun, Godsticks, and Green Carnation!

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