A lot of bands are very resistant to being defined by a certain genre, fearing being pigeon-holed and shunned by potential fans because of it. With Avastera and their debut EP The Clocks Have Ticked Too Long, the problem is immediately more complex. These boys simply don’t fit any one genre. You could try to describe them as pop-punk, alternative, melodic post-hardcore and sure enough there are elements of truth in each, but none really do justice to the diverse sound that explodes out of every single song on the EP. Having recorded the EP with producer Paul Leavitt (All Time Low, Yellowcard), the band have already begun building up an impressive track record since the release of their debut-single ‘December Sun’ in March 2012. As well as playing a lot of high-energy shows across their native Australia, Avastera have even started to develop a loyal fan-base stateside, touring with more established bands such as Mayday Parade, The Pretty Reckless and A Skylit Drive.
The EP itself kicks in with the fast-paced “Hear Me Out” and straight away, the diverse sound of Avastera becomes blindly obvious. Most of the song swings by in a blur of kick drums, harmonised riffs and strong vocals, but it is full of changes in tempo and even delivers a sweet sounding guitar solo before ending with a surprisingly light ‘Avastera-styled’ breakdown. The melodic post-hardcore really hits home in “As The Tables Turn” as piano and guitar morph into one harmonious sound while the rest of the band manage to fluctuate from the softer to the heavier side of rock with ease. This is perhaps even more dynamic than the opening track, bringing in some sections with a symphonic sound and the first signs of growls emanating from Chris Hanssen’s throat.
“December Sun” is clearly one of the most heartfelt songs on the record and it’s no surprise that teenage girls have swooned upon hearing it. The song itself is upbeat, with some nice transitions in it, and gives pride of position to Mike Lang’s vocals. While it isn’t unlike anything you may have heard before, the lyrics are a nice spin on the usual. Rather than singing about heartbreak or bitterness at a relationship gone south, Hanssen tells of fond memories from a past romance, refreshingly with no pretence.
“This Beautiful Nightmare” delivers another mix of heavy and soothing vocals, carried along by melodic riffs. It’s a testament to the band that they manage to pull off the various different sounds without sounding confused or like they’re trying to do too much. Adding to the EP’s mysterious variations, “Ms. Conception” starts with a two-hand tapping piece on the guitar that sounds incredibly like someone on the piano. The track showcases Avastera’s style quite well, with the rest of the song following dynamically from this opening riff. The final track on the album is an acoustic version of “December Sun”, which delivers the same tenderness but in a smoother, more stripped down package.
If Avastera were out to prove something, you can only assume it is mission accomplished. While showing definite traces and influences of other bands (Hanssen names Yellowcard among others), Avastera manage to create a distinctive sound which transcends genres. This can only be a hit.
4 out of 5 high fives!