(8/10) Normally I’m not a fan of too much gimmicks and frills used by a band. Often it’s done with the purpose of compensating for something else that’s missing, mostly good songs. I’ve been doubtful when I listened to Avatar the first time but luckily enough the music could swipe away all doubts. Avatar is the exception that proves the rule.
The Swedish metal outfit has its roots in death metal, what else could it be, hailing from Gothenburg. Over time the band evolved their sound to a unique mixture of melodic death metal, modern metal and some hardrock. Avatar found their own signature, also being the foundation for their newest strike entitled “Avatar Country”. The album follows the 2016 release “Feather’s and Flesh” and is the first one for label Century Media.
“Avatar Country” is a concept album with 'the king', being in the center of everything. I don’t want to go too deep into the content of the concept, but it has an impact on the tracklist of “Avatar Country”.
The album comes with ten songs and a running time of 43 minutes. Considering an intro entitled “Glory to the King”, a spoken word section (“The King Speaks”) and an instrumental towards the end (“Silent Songs of the King pt.1: Winter Comes When the King Dreams of Snow”) there isn’t too much time left for real songs. No doubt, from a dramaturgic aspect these numbers are needed on the album, but it also means that it limits the running time for great songs which the album contains as well.
“Avatar Country” comes with excellent metal compositions that are powerful and entertaining. “Legend of the King” is the first one and it shows the entire potential of Avatar. Death metal roots are shimmering though with raw vocals while the melodic parts add some catchy commerciality to the total. Avatar has a wide range of styles which they combine to something that’s special and outstanding. Almost as a counterpart to “Legend of the King” there’s “The King Welcomes You to Avatar Country”. It’s the bluesy vibe that almost gives you the feeling of listening to another band, still fitting into the context of “Avatar Country”.
Listening to Avatar also means that’s hard to predict what’s next. Each of the songs has quite some unexpected twists, like “A Statue of the King”. There are progressive elements that interact with raging metal parts and the great thing is – all fits together in a good fashion.
To conclude: “Avatar Country” became an excellent metal release that proves why the guys from Gothenburg can count on a constantly growing fan base. Avatar’s music is inspiring, powerful, raw and catchy. Utilizing this fantastic bag, filled of creativity, for a concept album is a good idea, but the concept should not limit the songs, which partly happen with “Avatar Country”. Two to three more ‘real’ tracks wouldn’t have been a bummer at all. But better some less songs than fillers. Great album that leaves you with an appetite for more.
- Glory to Our King
- Legend of the King
- The King Welcomes You to Avatar Country
- King’s Harvest
- The King Wants You
- The King Speaks
- A Statue of the King
- King After King
- Silent Songs of the King pt.1: Winter Comes When the King Dreams of Snow
- Silent Songs of the King pt.2: The King’s Palace
Label: Century Media
Genre: Modern Metal
Release Date EU: January 12th, 2018