Avenue Six Left – The Thin Line Of Life EP (2012)

First impressions are important no matter who or what you’re dealing with. In the business world, you could have exactly the same credentials, education and smile as the man next to you, but at the end of the day, sorry bud, he wore a suit and tie while you opted for the classy–but casual–cardigan. In relationships, an inch either way on the hem of a skirt can change “I’d take her home to meet the folks” to “I’d take her to the free clinic.” Music–like jobs, relationships and acquaintances–is also a slave to first impressions. That first pluck on a string, pound on a drum or syllable from the vocalist can make or break the band. Avenue Six Left, a progressive, technical deathcore juggernaut hailing from Germany sign a lot of checks with promises of complexity, melody and brutality–checks that their latest EP The Thin Line of Life has no problem cashing.

Avenue Six Left begin The Thin Line of Life timidly–an ambient atmosphere draping over the listener, lulling them into a false sense of security. Before the listener gets too complacent, however, the soothing calm of reflections snaps into an oddly-timed half-breakdown half-groove that blends perfectly into the following track. While the listener may have been initially wary, any sense of precaution was instantaneously cast by the wayside and replaced with full-fledged curiosity, and subsequent interest. In this manner, Avenue Six Left engage with a stellar one-two punch that catches you off guard and socks you right in the jaw–while at the same time, piquing your interest and keeping you wanting more. Each song is packed with The Contortionist-style time changes and quick fills and flourishes on every instrument, which quite frankly confuse and bewilder the listener, making them wonder, “Did I really just hear that?!”

As if the stuttering, start-stop nature of each song’s dynamic structure wasn’t evident enough, The Thin Line of Life’s instruments syncopate even further using heavy, downtuned chugging and deep, rumbling bass to create blistering breakdowns. While the instruments transfer fluidly from shredding riff to gut-busting heaviness, the vocals lay like a veil over it all, adding transient flare which is appealing where it needs to be, but also can blend subtly as well. Furthermore, the heavier, thrashing breakdowns are held in an even starker contrast by the use of melodic, ambient sections which sees the instruments harmonizing in a spatial manner, before delving into destructive dissonance, a la “The Golden Hour.”

However, like many insanely technical bands who use ambient contrasts, Avenue Six Left run the risk of being a tad…overwhelming. Fortunately for them, and the listener, The Thin Line of Life largely avoids such crimes by being both appropriately long and tastefully diverse. Fortunately, the EP is just long enough to provide a complete listening experience, but not too long to the point of getting bored with Avenue Six Left’s stunning musicianship (which, as awful as it sounds, can happen). Furthermore, each song is dynamically and intricately structured to prevent repetitive djent riffing or same-sounding solos. While on rare occasion, there are sections of the EP which sound nearly copy-and-pasted, the listener is hard-pressed to complain given the stellar quality and intriguing merit present throughout each snippet of the release.

If Avenue Six Left’s The Thin Line of Life was applying for a job, it would be a dapper and eager youngster in a tastefully prepared outfit with a tastefully appealing resume to boot. If it were a girl at a club, it would be that girl you (and every other guy) couldn’t take your eyes from. Simply put, despite it’s minor repetitive flaws, The Thin Line of Life is a model for up-and-coming progressive death-and-metal-core acts across the globe.

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By Connor Welsh ~ Me Gusta Reviews