[Album Review] Avatar 'Avatar Country'

March 22, 2019

Avatar is an avant-garde metal band from Gothenburg, Sweden. The members of Avatar first met in music school in Sweden back in 2001. John Alfredsson and Jonas Jarlsby were originally in a band called Lost Souls. The pair decided to leave the band and form the band now known as Avatar. John and Jonas then connected with vocalist Johannes Eckerström shortly after. Guitarist Simon Andersson and bassist Henrik Sandelin joined the band in 2003. In 2011 Simon Andersson decided to leave the band and was replaced by Tim Öhrström who was a fan of Avatar’s music well before he became a band member. 

In 2006 Avatar released their first studio album entitled Thoughts Of No Tomorrow. One of the most well known songs from their debut album is “Bound To The Wall”. 

Schlacht, the bands Sophomore album was released in 2007. The bands single of the same name was their first music video to be uploaded to YouTube on December 4, 2007. 

2009 saw the release of the bands self titled album. My favorite songs from this album are “The Great Pretender”, “Out Of Our Minds”, and “Deeper Down”. It was during this album that vocalist Johannes Eckerström really started to discover his voice. 

Black Waltz, their fourth studio album was released in 2012 and was the first Avatar album to be properly released in the United States. Included in this album are some absolutely wonderful songs such as “Torn Apart”, “Let It Burn”, “Smells Like A Freakshow”, and the titular song “Black Waltz”. “Smells Like A Freakshow” has become a huge hit within the fandom and is celebrated by fans worldwide. The “Black Waltz” music video features members of the sideshow performers Hellzapoppin and was the first sighting of the now infamous clown makeup worn by Ëeckerstrom. 

Two years later the band released Hail The Apocalypse. This release includes some of the most well known songs the band has released to date. Some of those songs are “Hail The Apocalypse”, “Bloody Angel”, “Tsar Bomba”, “Puppet Show”, and “Tower”. The song “Hail The Apocalypse” is celebrated by fans much like its predecessor “Smells Like A Freakshow”. 

In 2016 Avatar wrote and recorded their first concept album entitled Feathers And Flesh. The album tells the story of an Owl and the Eagle who threatens to end her reign. This story can be heard through the lyrics of the bands songs as well as a physical book which was released to coincide with the fable. There is so much diversity on this album and in my opinion this is the best album they have released to date. My favorites from Feathers And Flesh are “Tooth, Beak, and Claw”, “One More Hill”, “Night Never Ending”, and “Raven Wine”. 

In 2018 the world was introduced to Avatar Country. This is the bands second concept album which follows the story of the king, his royal court, and the citizens of Avatar Country. My favorites from This album are “A Statue Of The King”, “The King Welcomes You To Avatar Country”, “Kings Harvest”, and “King After King”. 

Late last year the band set up a Kickstarter campaign in order to bring their vision of Avatar Country to life. Within the first few hours the band had reached their goal and by the end it had doubled. This allowed the band to tell their story in a way they never dreamed possible. To thank the fans they offered up different rewards for each donation amount. These rewards ranged from your full name being displayed in the credits of the film to jackets from one of their music videos. 

I’m excited for the release of the film Avatar Country. I also cannot wait to see what’s coming next from them. They’re constantly coming up with absolutely brilliant album concepts. I suggest Avatar to anyone who enjoys Avant-Garde Metal, Groove Metal, theatrical metal, or if you enjoy a band who’s style changes album to album. 

If you’d like to catch a live show which I highly suggest, Avatar will be starting their US tour with Devon Townsend on May 16th at Town Ballroom in Buffalo New York.

 

Avatar Country is now available on vinyl, CD and as a digital download from Entertainment One and Century Media Records.

 

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