The Avantist’s self-titled LP is a wonderfully furious journey through one hell of a relationship (either with another person or with oneself). The 12 tracks, from “classics” like the surf-rocker “Tidalwave” and glossy, indie-tinged “Truth in Light” to stunning, soaring choruses on new compositions “Deep Red Love” and “Medi-Demi” show how the Arias brothers bit down on their ambition and didn’t let go.
“AVANTIST’s” opener “Conquer” sets fire to whatever you knew of the band before you. Guitars screech, a shrill howl of echoing slides clash against punishing drums and you’re not even given a second to assess what you’re listening to. It’s super-charged, splattered with personal as political/good vs. evil imagery, but ultimately just riffs so hard that none of that really matters.
The overall feel of the album lends itself more to hard rock and punk than anything The Avantist has done in the past. “Veneno” and “Human Driver,” which features Adrian Terrazas Gonzalez (who previously worked with The Mars Volta) on the saxophone are its rage-soaked climax. Relentless in their thrash appeal, these two are the most exciting tracks on the album. The growth of the musicality alone puts the band on an entirely different level, a level other young bands probably haven’t even imagined yet. Its only downfall is that lyrical comprehension often gives way to the buzz, but it’s pure and surely not intended.
The stunningly intimate “Solita Soledad” is a six and a half-minute grand finale. As progressive sounding in its verses as it is jazzy during the chorus, the song (much like the band itself) shapeshifts to emphasize the ending of the terrific journey known as “AVANTIST.” The last minute and forty-seconds of the song is so intricately haunting, the jam almost overwhelms the senses. Turn it up louder; you’ll see what I mean.
With its very few shortcomings, “AVANTIST” proves that The Avantist is one of the most exciting bands in Chicago. If this record is any indication, the band’s ever-expanding sound and genre-fusions will be worth revisiting again and again.