Aversed – Impermanent
Aversed is a Boston, MA-based band formed in 2009 (as Aversion). Often listed as Progressive and Melodic Death Metal, they also delve heavily into the technical segment of the metal realm. The precision of the drumming and bass playing, added to the incredibly fast and complex guitar work, leaves no doubt that Aversed qualifies as a Technical Death Metal band. Layer in the clean and harsh vocals of Haydee, and very few can compare to this band when it comes to any version of Death Metal musicians.
- Haydee Irizarry – Vocals
- Sungwoo Jeong – Guitars
- Alden Marchand – Guitars
- Martin Epstein – Bass (Session)
- Jeffrey Saltzman – Synth/Backing Vocals/Programming
Impermanent was independently released on March 19th, 2021.
- Close My Eyes
- The Solar Sea
This disc opens with “Natsukashi,” a song with a short melodic intro before the real heavy starts. The guitars ramp things up as the drums count down to liftoff. The launch is spectacular! The drums go to blast beats, the bass pegs at 11, and the guitars go into hyperdrive. Haydee comes in harsh on vocals but shifts back and forth to clean, showing her range right from the beginning of the album. The solos are melodic and well-paced, holding their own over the riff. Sungwoo and Alden trade-off solos seamlessly, never missing a note or creating awkward gaps. One of the hallmarks of this band is their exacting precision.
“Close My Eyes” has a lot of heavy with excellent melodic phrasing. Haydee uses a higher register on some lines, indicating how much range she truly possesses. The guitar work on this song is stunning. The muted sections interspersed with the heavy riff and some well-placed lead fills are just the right amount of complex writing to please any Technical Metal fan and heavy enough to keep the Melodic Death Metal fans hooked. The rhythm is superb, carrying the whole song from start to finish. Martin and Jeffrey have their own gravitational pull that hoods all of this together.
There is almost a doom feel to the intro for “Laboratory.” The sludgy guitar work is excellent, and this is the first song on the disc with no clean vocals. The mechanical whirring sounds reinforce the lyrics on this one. Mankind invented their own rulers, the machines. Humans brought about their own demise while thinking they were creating things to make their lives easier. The hubris in the lyrics is impressive, showing that humans really are their own worst enemies.
The title track, “Impermanent,” begins slowly with a windswept echo in the background, followed by a wave of Speed/Tech Metal. The drums are astounding, running well in excess of 200 BPM with a patterned, variable double bass kick that boggles the mind. How in the ever-loving Hell does Jeffrey keep that tempo/pattern going without getting all four of his limbs tied in knots? Bass and guitars keep up, but this is yet another marvel of musical science. The bridge/interlude is pure Melodic Metal with clean vocals and more of the sludgy phrasing, then it is back to the Speed Tech. That is some awe-inspiring musicianship.
“Abandoned” opens with gentle guitar tones, including some interesting discordant bends. The pattern is an excellent four-bar phrase when the riff begins, with some cool cymbal play by Jeffrey. The vocals go from clean to harsh, the guitars have a few wild fills, and the whole song shifts a few times. This track seems to be more of a forlorn longing for a connection that is not there; the relationship feels mechanical, bereft of true passion. The longing and frustration have different voices in this one, separating hope from despair.
“The Solar Sea” opens calmly, only to have the calm shattered by a melodic riff with some excellent lead work under it. Then we get a few more measures of calmness before the rhythm comes crashing over our heads. The waves of music are much like the shifting tides of the oceans. These are mirrored by the clean vs. harsh vocals and the Tech vs. melodic rhythms. It’s an excellent composition that uses their differing skill sets to indicate differences in the song’s feelings.
For those of us looking to describe the general feeling of life, “Malaise” may be one of the best words available. A general feeling of discomfort or illness is the first thing to pop up when searching the word. This song lyrically describes my attitude since about March 2020 when the world started shutting down. The chaotic shifts in vocals stir the angst that lingers still, mirrored by the myriad guitar phases. The discordant tones in the soloing and the wild leads exacerbate those feelings, almost stirring a wave of anger. Good music moves you, but not always to happiness. Sometimes a song needs to stir something darker to get you moving.
“Spiraling” starts out heavy, fast, and abrasive. Blast beats and thundering bass lay the foundation for a massive riff. The leads, the spoken word, and the harsh vocals all create a tone that is dark and a bit out of control. A mind in free fall is scary, but it’s over fast. When the spiraling starts, it slows the progress, giving everyone time to watch the inevitable crash, like a slow-motion train wreck.
The record ends on the eight-minute epic, “Nightshade.” A gentle intro gives a moment of peace before the melodic heaviness crashes over the listener. After the melodic section comes the tech/speed section. The pace is brutal, the sound heavy, the work divine. There is a nod to Progressive Metal in this track. Bigger, more complex shifts in tempo and tone and wilder swings in sound give this track more depth, especially with the layered keys and discordant strings. This is the song that really showcases everything Aversed is capable of.
This record will have a broad appeal in the extreme metal world, crossing over deftly from Melodic to Technical to Speed, all within the Death Metal purview. I’d bet this band is at least partially a product of the Berklee College of Music. There is more to this than just someone writing fast parts on various instruments. These compositions are precise, technical, and very well presented.
Aversed is not a band that just plays fast to see if they can do it; they have a purpose, a message. With Impermanent, it appears the message is that humans are only a temporary inconvenience that will soon fade away as the machines take over. Or maybe whatever you are feeling right now won’t last forever, so don’t let it wreck the rest of your life. Keep driving forward; you are not here forever. Enjoy it while you can because life can be most excellent if you let it be so.
- Guitars – 10
- Rhythms – 10
- Vocals – 10
- Songwriting – 9
- Production – 9
- Overall – 9.40