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THE APPROBATION

Avkrvst

Heavy Prog


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Avkrvst The Approbation album cover
3.78 | 46 ratings | 6 reviews | 33% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2023

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. ěsterdalen (0:26)
2. The Pale Moon (6:15)
3. Isolation (5:41)
4. The Great White River (6:30)
5. Arcane Clouds (6:04)
6. Anodyne (10:14)
7. The Approbation (13:37)

Total Time 48:47

Line-up / Musicians

- Simon Bergseth / bass, guitars, vocals
- Martin Utby / drum, synths
- Oystein Aadland / bass, keyboards
- Edvard Seim / guitars
- Auver Gaaren / keyboards

Releases information

CD, LP released on Inside Out Music and Sony Music on June 16, 2023.

Thanks to rdtprog for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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AVKRVST The Approbation ratings distribution


3.78
(46 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(33%)
33%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(39%)
39%
Good, but non-essential (26%)
26%
Collectors/fans only (2%)
2%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
0%

AVKRVST The Approbation reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by MikeEnRegalia
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Very well made. Musicianship and production are top-notch. The clean vocals do not convince me, they're whiny in a Steven Wilson sense, which does not go well with the otherwise epic/serene feel.

All in all this is much too derivative for me. It is perfectly fine to be inspired by other artists, but you also need to add interesting elements of your own, or combine influences in really interesting ways. This is just citations after citations, and without any attribution, no less.

Tracks:

2. The Pale Moon (3.5 stars): This sounds like straight off of Blackwater Park, albeit with weaker clean vocals.

4. The Great White River (3.5 stars): Goes from minor to major in harmonically awkward ways. I'm not buying it - sure, artists can and should innovate, but in this case it sounds more like artificially inflating complexity.

5. Arcane Clouds (3.5 stars): Nice build-up towards the end. The first track which does not feel too contrived.

6. Anodyne (3.5 stars): Windowpane - with a bit of fluff.

7. The Approbation (3.5 stars): This starts out quite majestic, only to drift into a Porcupine Tree section, In Absentia era, with the processed vocals and heavy riffing. It then shifts gears, becomes more abstract, to arrive in a King Crimson style frenzy, think PT - C/C meets The Power To Believe. And finally we get back to the majestic intro, for whatever reason (there's no musical connection between these sections).

Originally published at tagyourmusic.org

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Yet another Norwegian band pops into Prog World--yet this one is more exciting than most in that its members are all quite youthful--and none of them have participated (yet) in the rather incestuous member-swapping that has produced so many "new" bands in the past ten years. I really like the isolated winter cabin concept (from RenÚ Magritte's "The Lovers") behind these songs.

1. "ěsterdalen" (0:26) a couple guitar arpeggios lead into: 2. "The Pale Moon" (6:15) powerful opening leads into a very sedate yet satisfying multi-instrument weave. In the second half of the second minute a pleasing sustained-note electric guitar enters, shifts a couple times, and then disappears to be replaced by Mellotron before the vocals begin. The vocals and their melodies are quite nice, sounding a bit like mid-2010s VOTUM or KARNIVOOL. Great sound palette--full dynamic spread. At 5:15 some heavy power chords and riffs take over, giving the song quite an ominous downturn as the wailing sustained lead guitar rejoins. Then at 6:00 growl vocals enter to finish the song. Wow! Impressive! (9.25/10)

3. "Isolation" (5:40) opens like a fairly standard with syncopated "Eye of the Tiger"-like guitar chord intro with second guitar shredding fast arpeggi riffs. The music takes a few turns in the second minute--as if this is an overture (since there has been no singing up to this point)--a feeling that is augmenteed by yet another mood and stylistic shift in the second half of the third minute. Gentle singing voice enters at 3:15 over this gentler (though still metal--latent with potential energy) section as if just another instrument. Guitar riffing returns (though in the background) between vocal passages. Another tempo and stylistic shift works its way out at the end of the fifth minute allowing for a nice synth solo in the sixth. Very interesting song yet it feels like an awful lot of unresolved issues have been left loose. (8.875/10)

4. "The Great White River" (6:30) Very interesting dynamic between the syncopated electric guitar chord strumming and the much calmer, more simplified bass and drum rhythm track. When the vocals enter (over a much calmer, more pop-proggy soundscape) in the second minute I am reminded of a cross between SMALLTAPE/TINYFISH and ALAN PARSONS PROJECT. Very interesting. Surprisingly saccharine melodies. Quite pretty (especially considering the lyrics seem to be about the contemplation of death's unexpected and yet unavoidable arrival). Growl vocals at the four-minute mark, but then we return to the dreamy, floaty APP/TINYFISH sonic field for the finish. A top three song. (8.875/10)

5. "Arcane Clouds" (6:03) a gorgsous song that sounds like a cross between VIENNA CIRCLE and the softer side of KARNIVOOL or THE PINAEAPPLE THIEF. Some very nice, unexpected, shifts in sound and pacing--even style--especially for the excellent choruses and the disquieting finale. Quite pretty and fully/mature proggy. A top three song for me. (9.25/10)

6. "Anodyne" (10:14) the first five minutes are totally instrumental and full-on heavy prog-by-numbers--like a warm up of RUSH, whereas the second half turns into quite the lovely, melodic, atmospheric vocal music. Hard to rate cuz the first half is mediocre though impressive while the second half is pretty though syrupy. (17.5/20)

7. "The Approbation" (13:36) wonderful, bombastic NeoProg opening sounding like something from MYSTERY or NINE STONES CLOSE, backs off to arpeggiated acoustic guitar chords until 1:15 when the NeoProg bombast returns. So nice! At 1:48 the guitars take us into some metal music (though the drums remain rather constant and controlled--very cool!). Muted/effected lead vocals sound metallic--as if the singer might go off into some growls at any minute--but the music slides into surrealistic dreamscapes for the fifth minute as percussives fill all of the sonic field--until, that is, the progression of power chords enters at 4:30 and gradually take us into an instrumental exercise similar to OPETH c. 1998. At the end of the sixth minute the music shifts into more staccato-rapid fire drum and guitar rhythm-making but then we switch back to the OPETH-like motif (and backa nd forth again) while Edvard's lead guitar wails away somewhere in the inner sanctum. At 7:50 everything cuts out--as if a nuclear explosion or EMP just shuts everything down--leaving industrial devastation ... until guitar and Mellotron bring back some forward momentum. Nice drumplay shows progress as power chords plod forward. The surrounding sound builds layer by layer as the melodic chord progression rhythmically repeats over and over. The final 45 seconds are just wrap up and decay. Who knew this was going to be all instrumental?! (26.625/30)

Total Time: 47:04

I really like the unexpected turns and often quite-mature prog songscapes and song constructs this band of young persons uses. They will definitely be a band that I will follow as their career continues to unfold.

B+/4.5 stars; a most excellent addition to any prog lover's music collection. I think everybody's going to like this--even the dinosaurs!

Review by A Crimson Mellotron
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars 'The Approbation' is the debut studio release by Norwegian collective Avkrvst, a young band that has just come onto the scene, presenting a somber collection of 2000s prog metal-tinted compositions, sometimes explicitly heavy and aggressive, other times more melodic, melancholic and desperate-sounding, with a sound that could be described as reminiscent of bands like Opeth (perhaps 'Damnation' era), Porcupine Tree (with notches to 'Deadwing' and 'Fear of a Blank Planet') and bits of Anekdoten, Leprous, and what have you more.

The sound that the band seems to be going for on this very bold and far-reaching album jumbles between progressive metal with hints of black metal here and there, symphonic prog (in terms of technicality and odd time signatures) and more traditional heavy prog, the one associated with the abovementioned bands. Interestingly enough, the vocals are pretty melancholic, a bit dense sometimes, but almost entirely clean; very few sections here see the use of harsh vocals, an inspiration that could be coming from the metal background of the band members. This is a mostly low tempo album, as the band does not depend too much on fast technical playing, that one could traditionally associate with standard progressive metal. The ominous riffs are building up in a more controlled manner, still grim and bruiting, more in the vein of early Black Sabbath, for example. All of the comparisons and references are necessary here, as they are pretty prevalent all over the album. Additionally, in the case of a newer band one would like to link them to a specific context and in the case of Avkrvst one could safely say that they like to wear their influences on their sleeves.

'The Approbation' opens up with a 30-second instrumental build-up that transitions into the opening track 'The Pale Moon', a bleak exploration on the life of the supposed album protagonist. This tracks begins heavily and as soon as it reaches the verse it changes shape into something like an unreleased track off of Opeth's 'Damnation' album. Intense, dense and soothing at the same time, this is a very good song. Then comes the predominantly instrumental 'Isolation', illustrative of the directions that the band had undertaken for 'The Approbation'- bleakness, aggression, sometimes introspection or loss. The story that they're telling for sure matches the sound. 'The Great White River' is a fantastic track, too. Quite similar to the ones coming before it. Then 'Arcane Clouds' sits as a tiny bit more forgettable than the rest of the songs on here, and this is where the album begins to sound a bit dense and monotonous overall, in my humble opinion. The longer tracks, unfortunately, do not manage to grippingly take off, as there is a great promise there, but it washes out somewhere in the middle of both 'Anodyne' and the 13-minute long title track.

And to summarize, one could say that this is a strong and impressive debut album coming from a band that clearly wants to be associated with the heavier side of the progressive rock scene. Certain moments here make me think that I have already heard some of these tracks before but done better. Also, I believe that progressive metal has better albums to offer generally but there is by all means a great promise - Avkrvst seems to go to too many directions which lead the listener nowhere (not all the time), wondering which one they would like to take on and develop in future releases - the more melodic-symphonic side, the poppier and more accessible-experimental side, or the heavier, darker, doomier side.

Latest members reviews

4 stars AVKRVST to your wishes, yes it's easy... A group coming from nowhere and launching an album set in the prog pond, yes it is! 1. ěsterdalen premonitory guitar arpeggio of a new sound? 2. The Pale Moon confirms my words, an imposing djent riff before falling into a soft Opethian tune, haunting w ... (read more)

Report this review (#2972254) | Posted by alainPP | Friday, December 8, 2023 | Review Permanlink

4 stars It's a very fun album to listen. It feels like they put a lot of modern prog influences in the mix and got as a result something refreshing and interesting. It sounds a bit like Steven Wilson, but tbh I would describe it more like a Blackwater Park Opeth merged with Frost* last album, if this makes ... (read more)

Report this review (#2938491) | Posted by Deadwing | Monday, July 10, 2023 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Debut album from this Norweigan band,and what a debut! I was amazed that Progarchives took so long to induct into reviews.I would say heavy prog/ scandi noir prog is appropriate for Avkrvst ( pronounced Awcrust) Considering where it was produced,the sound quality is pristine and every note is cry ... (read more)

Report this review (#2937709) | Posted by daisy1 | Wednesday, July 5, 2023 | Review Permanlink

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