Avatar – Avatar Country

Rating: 3.5/5
Distributor/label: eOne Music
Distributor/label URL: https://www.entertainmentone.com/
Released: 2018
Buy Album [URL]: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Avatar-Country/dp/B076Q7GPRR
Band Website: www.avatarmetal.com

Band line-up:

Johannes Eckerström – Vocals

John Alfredsson – Drums

Henrik Sandelin – Bass

The King – Guitars

Tim Öhrström – Guitars

Tracklisting:

01. Glory To Our King
02. Legend Of The King
03. The King Welcomes You To Avatar Country
04. King’s Harvest
05. The King Wants You
06. The King Speaks
07. A Statue Of The King
08. King After King
09. Silent Songs Of The King Pt. 1 – Winter Comes When The King Dreams Of Snow
10. Silent Songs Of The King Pt. 2 – The King’s Palace

Review:

Avatar are a band that should not need much of an introduction. These high flyers of the Gothenburg scene have
been carving out a path of ever emphatic and creative exuberance since their inception. Coming into their
sixteenth year, Avatar have released their seventh full release with ‘Avatar Country’, a ten track trailblazer which
stands as another example of how far the band have come since their first releases ‘Thoughts Of No Tomorrow’
and ‘Schlacht’. Not to say that there was no inherit qualities of these earlier albums that have seeped their way into
their more recent efforts but since their third and self-titled game changer, the band have moved from pillar to
post and evolved to a point of near unrecognisable stature.

The melodic-death stylings still permeate through the band’s overall
sound but what we have presently with this band is a much more
expansive and elaborate set of traits which is highly translatable to a
more varied audience. Take the title track of this album. Avatar have
given themselves a license to expand into any territory which they
feel. ‘Avatar Country’, as an example, brings a hard rock anthemic
sing along structure which seems bit aloof to their general sound but
it is done so well that it is simply accepted as a piece of the whole
puzzle that the band has put together. It is a bit pop-driven but
there are flashes of brilliance as well especially when considering the lead work.

What is a big contributing factor to the band’s ability to explore new territory is and always has been the talent and
creativity of the musicians who make up Avatar. Now being a solid lineup since 2012 -with the addition of guitarist
Tim Öhrstöm who came out with all guns blazing during the period of ‘Black Waltz’- the band have been able to
cement themselves in the greater metal scene but, more importantly, have been able to play around conceptually
and musically to create some rather boisterous music. Johanne Eckerstöm’s vocal range is as incredible as it
always has been and we get a quite excellent display of this throughout. Clean vocals to seismic screams, this man
can really drive the songs into different realms entirely. The best and heaviest example of this would be in the form
of ‘King’s Harvest’ which displays Avatar’s more darker and forceful nature.

Overall this album is very camp, a little surrealistic but fairly
consumable. The production is very polished so we do not lose out when the various shifts in tempo, modes, rhythms and styles flow in
and out. There has definitely been a continuation from their last
effort (Feathers And Flesh) but there has also been some expansion into other, newer fields. The musicianship is really what sells this be it from some excellent lead work to some occasional blasts from
drummer John Alfredsson, there is a lot to wrap your head around.
The band keep on moving forward and the dark circus that is Avatar
rolls on further afield. ‘Avatar Country’ has it’s downsides but overall the band have produced another interesting
album. Not their best but it is a fun piece of music to listen to, if not a little corny at points. This album, however,
sits comfortably with some of the best of their previous efforts and will resonate with their fans well. The band are
selling out shows at the minute so it certainly hasn’t harmed the band’s image. Where’s next for Avatar? Plenty of
options when you are king.

Review by:

PETE MUTANT

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