F U L L . R E V I E W S
Avatar is Sweden's newest export. I had never heard of this band until I caught them at a U.S. show recently. The band's sound and stage presence blew me out of the water and I bought their newest album, The Black Waltz before leaving the show. I proceeded to blast it all the way home and haven't taken it out of my rotation since. But on to the point of this rambling--the review.
The Black Waltz is what In Flames wishes their last 3 albums could have been. It is a microcosm of Gothenburg Metal/Black and Traditional Metal all shaped into one giant ball of ass kicking metal. From the opening to the final track on the album, Avatar assaults every sense and leaves you bleeding and broken, wishing for that final blow to send you into oblivion.
The guitar wielding duo of Jonas Jarlsby and Simon Andersson deliver a powerful 1-2 punch. They play off of each other and both are accomplished axe grinders. Capable of head splitting riffs, huge melody and enough speed to fuel the city of Gothenburg on a 2 day bender, these guys can play. Drummer John Alfredsson and bassist Henrik Sandelin bring up the rhythm section. Jazzy beats, fat bass lines and staccato paced blast beasts help pull together this musical carnival.
And lead singer Johannes Michael Gustaf Eckerström, where do I begin with this guy. This dude is a giant, literally. He is the tallest man I've ever seen. Vocally, this dude is sick. He can go from death metal growls to power metal screams to metalcore vocals without missing a beat. His power metal chops are solid and he can belt out a good high with enough power to shatter glass. His growls would make Lucifer run into the darkest depths of hell and hide. His stage presence makes him even more of the total package you want in a front man. He is charismatic, engaging and well aware of how to involve a crowd.
The album itself is phenomenal. From start to finish, there isn't a bad track on the disc. "The Black Waltz", "In Napalm" and "Ready for the Ride" are my favorite tracks off the album. Now, I'm sure that some people aren't going to like this band as much as I do or they could possibly think that I'm just totally insane, which is fine. I try to write my reviews as unbiased as possible but it's hard to keep my feelings about this one closely guarded. I believe though that metal heads will take a listen and see what I'm talking about with this album. So go out, give this a spin and get psycho!!!
About this Writer:
Greg Watson // Greg Watson has been hooked on the loud and heavy sounds since the summer of 1994 when he first heard the opening notes of "Operation: Mindcrime" by Queensryche. Since then his tastes have expanded and grown like the ever evolving heavy metal tree of genres. He has been an active member of Maximum Metal off and on for 10 years. In his spare time, Greg enjoys deciding the fate of his loyal subjects in the realm of Skyrim and secretly playing air keyboard to "Separate Ways" by Journey when no one is watching. He currently resides in Roanoke, VA with his wife and his metal wannabe beagle.
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