Last year I reviewed the second studio album from Mexico’s The Advent Equation, Remnants of Oblivion. After finding much to like on that album, I explored more of what had come before. What I found is that The Advent Equation were originally known as Advent, and were very obviously influenced by Opeth (with the name of the band presumably coming from the Opeth song of the same name). The Opeth influence is so marked that I suspect Advent may have been described as derivative. The first Advent Equation album, Limitless Life Reflections, definitely sees the band finding more of its own sound, even if the Opeth influence is still clearly heard. I do actually very much like this debut album, but Remnants of Oblivion blows it out of the water, with the band very much out of the shadows of their influence. The band were keen to release a live album, despite the restrictions of a post-covid world, hence this impressive performance captured live at Psicofonia Studio.
Remnants of Oblivion is performed almost in its entirety as part of this live release. Interestingly, the one song that is not part of this performance is Balance Through Extinction. In my review of Remnants of Oblivion I gave the song “the wooden spoon … (while still a good song), [it] doesn’t really seem necessary to me. It doesn’t add a lot, if anything, to the overall concept of the album, and as much as I don’t like to skip songs, I often consider doing so with Balance. That I’ve not skipped it so far in all my many listenings of the album says a lot for the song, but I do wonder if the album might flow more fluidly without it.” Needless to say, I think this live album does flow more fluidly without it. Apart from this omission, the songs of Remnants of Oblivion are performed in the same sequence they appear on the album, interspersed with an occasional track from the previous album.
Thus, the album begins with the same incendiary instrumental introduction of Ignition, and the powerful Patterns of Spiralling Reality, the deserved lead single from Remnants of Oblivion. From the opening notes of Ignition, there’s a palpable sense that this performance is more vital, more alive, than the album version. Given the level of performance, it’s impressive how much more energy and emotion seem to come forward live. The experience of playing this material live, even if not to an audience, sounds like the band proudly celebrating the culmination of all that went into the creation process. Credit must go to the production as well as the performers, for how rich and full the sound is. For me, this album is superior in every way to the studio album, and I’m honestly not sure how often I’ll ever listen to that again, now I have this.
There’s a heavier turn with the Remnants of Oblivion title track, the first time harsh vocals are heard on that album. Suitably, the first track taken from the harsher and heavier debut album, Limitless Life Reflections, follows, and it really works. I made the comment in my review for Remnants that some fans of extreme metal might find the relative lack of harsh vocals on that album a disappointment, so the inclusion of songs such as Afterlife Evolutionary will definitely make those fans happy. This song is more and more enjoyable as it progresses, although I still find it just out of my comfort zone to begin with, the final passages are just amazing. It beautifully leads into Facing the Absolute. By the time An Eternal Moment begins, I am well in need of the respite that the slow burning opening of this song provides. An Eternal Moment requires the same persistence as Afterlife Evolutionary, beginning in a manner that doesn’t necessarily do a lot for me, but rewarding patience with a fantastic payoff. From approximately the half way point, this song becomes a bit of a monster. Never as heavy as any of the surrounding songs, but still far heavier than its beginning belies.
Next is another track from the debut, Purification Lapse. It works so much better than Balance Through Extinction. I love this song, which (for me) has more character and depth than Afterlife Evolutionary. It’s probably my favourite song from the debut, so it’s great to hear it here, and it definitely provides far greater flow to the album, as well as augmenting the songs either side. Before I listened to this live release, I was disappointed to see that the first part of The Creation hadn’t been extended, as I felt it was too short on Remnants of Oblivion. It turns out that my listening experience was just negatively affected by Balance Through Extinction, because Hypnos’s length, when sandwiched between Purification Lapse and Thanatos, is perfect!
However, perfect is also how I found Thanatos for ending Remnants of Oblivion. So, again, before listening to this live album, I was wary about the band’s decision to play one more track, another from the debut, A Violent Motion. Again, I needn’t have worried, as the violence of A Violent Motion serves as a terrific encore. While there are obvious differences in sound and style between the two albums that the songs are taken from, I have to admit they gel far more than I expected. I definitely prefer the more original sound of the Remnants of Oblivion to material from Limitless Life Reflections, but the added heaviness and depth they bring to the set is welcome. If I were to recommend just one The Advent Equation, it would be this one! I’m left wondering where the band will take their sound next.
01. Ignition (3:19)
02. Patterns of Spiralling Reality (6:06)
03. Remnants of Oblivion (7:09)
04. Afterlife Evolutionary (6:47)
05. Facing the Absolute (4:10)
06. An Eternal Moment (7:09)
07. Purification Lapse (8:05)
08. Hypnos (2:57)
09. Thanatos (8:25)
10. A Violent Motion (6:09)
Total Time – 60:16
Margil Vallejo – Vocals, Bass
Luis Gomez – Guitar
Carlos Licea – Piano, Keyboards
Roberto Charles – Drums, Percussion
Record Label: Independent
Country of Origin: Mexico
Date of Release: 21st June 2021