Markus' Heavy Music Blog

My world of music - est. 2013

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Live review AVATARIUM / THE SLAYERKING, De Flux, Zaandam, 24.09.2017

Veröffentlicht am 26. September 2017 von Markus W. in Avatarium, The Slayerking, Gothic, Doom Metal, Classic Rock, Rock, Dark Metal, Dark Rock, De Flux, Zaandam, Live, Live Review, Tour

Concerts on a Sunday night are always a challenge since it’s hard to get people to the venue, having a new work-week in front of them. However, the once that get out to a concert as a weekend-closer are the real and loyal fans who appreciate seeing their favorite band live on stage, listening to music they like. This goes very much for Avatarium’s visit in Zaandam, playing a show at De Flux.

But before the Stockholm-based quintet entered the stage it was The Slayerking from Greece, acting as the opener that night. After having enjoyed a sunny Indian Summer weekend in Holland it was this trio that blew away all the good vibration within 40 minutes. The Slayerking, that’s Efthimis K, Kostas K., both known from Nightfall, and Eki on drums. These three guys ‘celebrated’ a dark mess with songs that are mainly built on doom and gothic. Visual highlight of the show was frontman Efthimis K. with a hat that reminded of one being used for a funeral march. It was a nice gimmick and fortunately things haven’t been reduced only to this extra. The trio could score some positive reactions, with the folks becoming quite enthusiastic. The Slayerking got 40 minutes on stage to warm up the crowd which they did very well. In addition they won some new friends with their powerful, but not very agile show that had the only small little downer of songs being a bit too much of the same thing only different.

Live review AVATARIUM / THE SLAYERKING, De Flux, Zaandam, 24.09.2017
Live review AVATARIUM / THE SLAYERKING, De Flux, Zaandam, 24.09.2017
Live review AVATARIUM / THE SLAYERKING, De Flux, Zaandam, 24.09.2017

Time for the main act, time for Avatarium. It’s amazing to see the development of this band. I had the pleasure to witness the band’s first show outside Sweden a few years ago, when the quintet played a show at the Afterburner of Roadburn. Songs were already great at that time, but you could sense the level of excited tension and stage fright while doing this concert. Already at that time a warm applause ended the well-done show and it was no difference three years later in Zaandam. What was different though was the stage performance. Even though it was a much smaller one than at 013, Avatarium used every square millimeter for an energetic Sunday night metal show with Jennie Ann Smith being not only an excellent singer but also a great performer. No comparison to three years ago in Tilburg. Dressed in black with a red cape, Smith evolved to an entertaining singer, always being in contact with her audience. Next to the singer it is guitarist Marcus Jidell and drummer Lars Sklold being the constant factor is this metal/rock outfit, with Jidell being the crucial musical brain behind Avatarium these days.

The five-piece from Stockholm played a full 90 minutes set that night which had a focus on the latest album “Hurricanes and Halos”. From the first note played that night, Jidell and band mates sparked the audience which reacted with clapping and enthusiastic applause after the last tone faded away in Zaadam's evening sky.

Each of the thirteen songs have been welcomed very much and even the unexpected Led Zeppelin cover sounded very good, being performed in an Avatarium fashion. The real highlight though has been three songs from the earlier days. “Girl with the Raven Mask” ignited a firework that peaked when songs like the awesome “Moonhorse” and “Avatarium” filled the room.

All in all Avatarium performed an excellent show, musically as well as performance-wise. And since De Flex is a smaller venue the show also felt like a ‘living room concert’ in an intimate atmosphere, bringing band and fans closer together with everybody leaving the room with a satisfied smile on their face.

Live review AVATARIUM / THE SLAYERKING, De Flux, Zaandam, 24.09.2017
Live review AVATARIUM / THE SLAYERKING, De Flux, Zaandam, 24.09.2017
Live review AVATARIUM / THE SLAYERKING, De Flux, Zaandam, 24.09.2017

Setlist Avatarium:

  1. Into the Fire / Into the Storm
  2. Pearls and Coffins
  3. The Starless Sleep
  4. Run Killer Run
  5. In My Time of Dying
  6. Medusa Child
  7. Girl With the Raven Mask
  8. Deep Well
  9. The Sky at the Bottom of the Sea
  10. Moonhorse
  11. When Breath Turns to Air (Encore)
  12. Avatarium (Encore)

 

Location: De Flux, Zaandam, The Netherlands

Date: September 24th, 2017

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CD review THE DOOMSDAY KINGDOM "The Doomsday Kingdom"

Veröffentlicht am 4. April 2017 von Markus W. in The Doomsday Kingdom, Doom Metal, Heavy Metal, Power Metal, NWoBHM, CD Review, Candlemass, Leif Edling, Avatarium, News

(9/10) It's hard to keep track of all the bands and releases being the brainchild of Swedish master of doom Leif Edling. The iconic bass player became famous with Candlemass, a band that heavily influenced doom bands all over the world. Next to this metal dinosaur, Edling started also bands like Krux and Abstract Algebra that stayed on more insider-based level while still being excellent discs many other bands could only dream of.

Since 2013 the bassist added a new member to this portfolio of bands. Avatarium appeared on the scene, celebrating huge successes from the very beginning. And now, while being in the last steps of preparing a ne Avatarium longplayer, it's another band that unveils eight songs of mighty Swedish doom metal - The Doomsday Kingdom. As with Avatarium, it's guitarist Marcus Jidell who plays, next to Edling himself, an important role when it comes to this new metal outfit. Having these two guys on board means of course some similarities with Avatarium - how could it be different. But The Doomsday Kingdom is far more to offer than just doing the same thing only different.

While Avatarium is including more and more classic rock/metal elements into their songs, it's the traditional metal and doom hymns that can be explored on this debut of The Doomsday Kingdom. Even some NWoBHM comes back on the album, reflected in songs like "A Spponful of Darkness". The song revives the early days of metal and it's Wolf singer Niklas Stålvind, whose voice feels like the pepperoni on the pizza. 

This longplayer includes all shades of metal. Melancholy is the main expression in the acoustic instrument "See You Tomorrow", which is a real beauty, while tracks like the hypnotic "The Never Machine" and the filigree "The Sceptre" stand for real doom metal with mighty riffs; the latter also with an exquisite guitar solo. The longplayer is full of highlight and each song is a shiny pearl covered by grey shades of sadness and balefulness. 

Song by song the debut is slowly building up to its climax that comes at the end. A incredible riff signals the beginning of the end; at least when it comes to this record. "The God Particle" is, with its almost ten minutes, a masterpiece of metal. Expressive and varying vocals by Stålvind are one of the main pillars of this metal temple of doom. Slow riffs and a rock solid rhythm section create an atmosphere that feels like a cold shiver in a foggy autumn night. 

A very critical person could say that this all reminds of Candlemass and probably it's even right. However, The Doomsday Kingdom allows Edling to add another twist to his music and sound. It's another outlet for the seemingly endless creativity of the iconic musician from Stockholm. To stick to the metaphor of a building; this record isn't a new building, but it's a beautiful extension of this everlasting Swedish fortess of doom. 

 

(9/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. Silent Kingdom
  2. The Never Machine
  3. A Spoonful of Darkness
  4. See You Tomorrow
  5. The Sceptre
  6. Hand of Hell
  7. The Silence
  8. The God Particle

 

Label: Nuclear Blast Records

Genre: Doom Metal

Release Date EU: April 7th, 2017

CD review THE DOOMSDAY KINGDOM "The Doomsday Kingdom"
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CD THE DOOMSDAY KINGDOM "Never Machine"

Veröffentlicht am 6. Dezember 2016 von Markus W. in The Doomsday Kingdom, Candlemass, Leif Edling, Avatarium, Doom Metal, Heavy Metal, NWoBHM, News, CD Review

(8/10) Leif Edling is a phenomenon. Not only that the bass player of Candlemass belongs to the group of highly influential musicians in metal, he’s also a good example when it’s about not giving up and do what you burn for. In his case things went even that far that his fascination for music helped him to get out of one of the biggest crisis situation – a burnout. In such a serious moment in time it was his acoustic guitar that helped the iconic bass player to recover. Playing on the six string was one of the things he could find some energy for, and if it was only for some minutes each day.

Step by step some new songs came out of this ‘therapy’ and four of them ended up on the first release of The Doomsday Kingdom. The band is Edlings next outfit, running in parallel to his engagement in Candlemass and the shooting stars of Avantarium. Edling describes the purpose of The Doomsday Kingdom as an outlet for his passion for NWoBHM and Black Sabbath, as being the godfathers of doom metal.

The Doomsday Kingdom is a quartet that, next to Edling on bass, also includes Marcus Jidell on guitar, Andreas Johansson on drums and Wolf-singer Niklas Stålvind doing the vocals. It’s this four-piece that recorded “Never Machine”, an EP that hit the shelves a few days ago. In total there are four tracks on this first output and each of the tracks confirms the passion for some early 80’s metal.

The title track “Never Machine” marks a grim and cold beginning of a four-track journey that fits very well into the European winter darkness. The song is a slowly rolling track with a well-placed acoustic part in the middle. “The Sceptre” is number two on the batting order and it’s another slow-paced doom song. Stålvind enriches this track with his vocals that are intense and powerful.

“Zodiac City” is the song on the album that is the most complex, at least for my ears. It took me a while to get into this doom monster that unveils its beauty after a few rounds in the player. The beginning still sounds a bit bumpy to me but the track itself is another great musical achievement of Edling. However, I constantly have to think about how this tune would sound like with Avatarium performing it.

The end is near, at least when it comes to this EP. “The Whispering” is what’s expressed in the naming of the tune. It’s a silent acoustic number. It’s the melancholic counterpart to the first three tracks and a well-done break on this EP. “The Whispering” is built on a sphereful foundation and feels like the calm after a gloomy and stormy night.

“Never Machine” is another project/band initiated by Leif Edling. This means that the general patterns of music created that's created by the bass player are present and you could question why another outfit is needed. However, I think that this question is irrelevant since the four tracks are all great. This EP is a real appetizer for the upcoming full-length studio album.

 

(8/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. Never Machine
  2. The Sceptre
  3. Zodiac City
  4. The Whispering

 

Label: Nuclear Blast

Genre: Doom Metal

Release Date EU: November 25th, 2016

 

CD THE DOOMSDAY KINGDOM "Never Machine"
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CD review CANDLEMASS "Death Thy Lover" EP

Veröffentlicht am 25. Mai 2016 von Markus W. in Candlemass, Doom Metal, News, Heavy Metal, Dark Metal, CD Review, Avatarium

(8/10) It was 30 years ago when a doom metal album had been released that set a new standard. "Epicus Doomicus Metallicus", that's the name of the record that marked the beginning of new chapter in doom metal.

Candlemass was the band that was responsible for this milestone. The band added many exciting chapters to this story and the newest one will be released end of May via Napalm Records.

Four new tracks have been recorded by the Stockholm-based quintet, music that reflects more the earlier days than the last studio output "Psalms for the Dead".

This EP starts with the title track "Death Thy Lover". The first thing that hits is the riff which kicks-off this number. What follows is a surprisingly fast Candlemass song with typical Candlemass melodies and a quite catchy chorus. The guitars and the galloping rhythm reminds partly of the NWoBHM while the middle section features some classic rock. All this is kept together by Candlemass' typical sound expression which guarantees a cool start into this release.

"Sleeping Giants" is the next hymn. Build on brutal riffs and dark vocal lines it's a slowly creeping doom giant that awakes step by step. Talking about vocals, Mats Leven was responsible for those and his voice fits perfect. As on earlier releases he again enriches Candlemass' sound, also on these four tracks.

Number three, "Sinister'n'Sweet", is a another winner. It's a track that contains some thrilling guitar solos and I haven't seen the song writing credits, but I could imagine Leif Edling being very much in charge for this track. It's a Sabbath like riff that shows some parallels with Avatarium.

The last tune is called "The Goose". It's a bit more of an extraordinary name for a metal anthem. However, the number is a real smasher that, note by note, crawls into the deepest parts of your mind. This song, that is by the way an instrumental, is a great ending of an EP that is 100% Candlemass.

This release is a MUST.

 

(8/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. Death Thy Lovers
  2. Sleeping Monster
  3. Sinister'n'Sweet
  4. The Goose

 

Label: Napalm Records

Genre: Doom Metal

Release Date EU: June 3rd, 2016

CD review CANDLEMASS "Death Thy Lover" EP
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New AVATARIUM video!!! Don't miss that one!!!

Veröffentlicht am 25. Februar 2016 von Markus W. in Avatarium, Heavy Metal, Doom Metal, Classic Rock, News, Video

Swedish classic doom rockers Avantarium posted a new video. It's done for "Pearls and Coffins", one of the highlights on the bands second album "The Girl With the Raven Mask" and it's by far the best one the band released so far. Great song, great video - check it out.

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CD review AVATARIUM " The Girl With the Raven Mask"

Veröffentlicht am 25. Oktober 2015 von Markus W. in Avatarium, Candlemass, News, CD Review, Classic Rock, Rock, Doom Metal, Heavy Metal, Power Metal

(9/10) Avatarium is finally releasing their long awaited second album. I must say that I was very curious. How will it sound? Can the guys from Stockholm, Sweden live up to the expctations that tremendously raised after the debut and the EP? Is the melancholic sphere still there or had the pressure a fatal impact on the band's sound? None of this. The second studio album is a further development of the bands trademarks. "The Girl With the Raven Mask" became a fantastic album that is kept slightly slower than the debut and that comes with more classic rock elements; something Marcus Jidell mentioned already in an interview for MHMB.  

Avatarium created an own sound that can be identified immediately as being from the five-piece. This is mainly based on Jenny's almost unique voice and her way of interpreting, actually 'living', the lyrics. It seems that the pressure pushed the band to top form and to top performance

The title track "Girl With the Raven Mask" acts as opener. It's the interaction of hard and fragile in one which makes this track so good. It's the best anthem on an album full of highlights. What a start. Wow.

A mighty doom riff a la Avatarium kicks-off "The January Sea" - a tune full of slow motion metal, down tuned riffs and clean vocals of Jenny. All this together builds a great arc of tension.

"Pearls and Coffins" is one of the numbers where classic rock shines through. It's the bluesy guitar that spreads a sad vibe, supported by Jenny's vocallines and a great organ sound. 

Slow and heavy, those attributes are coming back in "Hypnotized". Nomen et omen here, since the song is build to hypnotize. Classic rock comes back too while listening to Jidell's solo part, that brings back memories of the old Rainbow. That's music at its best.

"Ghostlights" starts with Jenny singing "When the northern winds blow..." - this descibes the song spot-on. The number has a mystic expression that's supported by  Jindell's excellent solo, not to forget the embedded hammond sound.

Compared to those songs "Run Killer Run" is an almost swinging tunes. It's a straight forward rocker without frills. Just cool and made for the stage.

"Iron mule" instead is a sentimental track that's kept more silent. It comes with a lot of feeling connected to it and shows the soulful side of Avatarium. This semi-ballad is another winner on "The Girl With the Raven Mask".

"The Master Thief" is a six minutes long composition with a dark vibe. The first half is kept more relaxed, before guitar and hammond adds harshness in the middle part. A bluesy solo takes over and the band perfoms the silent/loud interplay in perfection.

With "In My Time of Dying" is the bonus track. A down tuned crawling riff and a creepy beginning characterize this tune. It is a desperate atmosphere in this song that feels like an emotional fight between hope and despair. It's an excellent song that has far more potential than 'just' being a bonus track. It adds another aspect to Avatarium's musical spectra what makes the porfolio of songs even wider and thrilling.

To conclude: Avatarium delivered the expected strong second longplayer. What started with the fantastic debut found it's continuation in the EP from a few month ago. "The Girl With the Raven Mask" is the next climax in Avatarium's pretty young musical history. One or two more faster songs, like the title track, would have been benefitial, but who cares. The guys from Stockholm found their trademarks, that can immediately be recognised, do great songs and have extraordinary musicians on board. Best preconditions for a glorious future.

 

(9/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. Girl With the Raven Mask
  2. The January Sea
  3. Pearls and Coffins
  4. Hypnotized
  5. Ghostlight
  6. Run Killer Run
  7. Iron Mule
  8. The Master Thief
  9. In My Time of Dying (Bonus Track)

 

Label: Nuclear Blast

Genre: Doom Metal

Release Date EU: October 16th, 2015

CD review AVATARIUM " The Girl With the Raven Mask"
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New song from AVATARIUM

Veröffentlicht am 24. August 2015 von Markus W. in Avatarium, News, Doom Metal, Classic Rock, New, Video, Heavy Metal

Here comes the first new sing from Swedish Avatarium. The doomsters posted "Girl with the raven mask" which is the title track of the upcoming album. The tune is surprisingly fast, but typically Avatarium. If the other songs have a similar quality we can expect a great album that can easily compete with the the debut and the EP.

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My metal year 2014 - Albums and more...

Veröffentlicht am 31. Dezember 2014 von Markus W. in Machine Head, Hotrod Mayhem, Ghost Brigade, Avatarium, Heavy Metal, News, Thrash Metal, Classic Rock

The year 2014 comes closer to an end. Time to look back and reflect on the best records in this crazy year. It was not easy to chosen them since there have been quite some highlights. However I have chosen the ones that impressed me most. And here they are:

  1. Machine Head: Bloodstones & diamonds
  2. Avatarium: All I want (EP)
  3. Hotrod Mayhem: We are at war
  4. Ghost Brigade: IV - One with the storm
  5. While Heaven Wept: Suspended at Aphelion
  6. The Skull: For those which are asleep
  7. Riot V: Unleash the fire
  8. Within Temptation: Hydra
  9. Gamma Ray: Empire of the undead
  10. Triptykon: Melana chasmata
  11. Arch Enemy: War eternal
  12. In Flames: Sirens charm
  13. Septicflesh: Titan
  14. Zodiac: Sonic child
  15. Obituary: Inked in blood

 

Furthermore there have been quite some concerts that I have joined. The highlights have been the following ones:

  1. Kreator / Arch Enemy / Sodom / Vader - 013, Tilburg
  2. Audrey Horne - Baroeg, Rotterdam
  3. Down - Melkweg, Amsterdam
  4. Gotthard - De Boerderij, Zoetermeer
  5. Amorphis / Avatarium - 013, Tilburg

 

I hope all of you enjoyed the metallic 2014 too and let's look forward to a rocking 2015. Happy new year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My metal year 2014 - Albums and more...
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Live review AMORPHIS / AVATARIUM, 013, Tilburg, 29.12.14

Veröffentlicht am 30. Dezember 2014 von Markus W. in Amorphis, Avatarium, Doom Metal, Death Metal, Heavy Metal, Folk Metal, Live Review, News

It seemed that this Northern metal package also brought the winter to the Netherlands. After weeks of almost spring feeling the temperature went down and snow has covered the country.

The snow is almost gone in the meantime and the temperature increased again, but what stayed is the very positive impression of the show from Amorphis and Avantarium.

Amorphis decided to play this mini tour to celebrate the 20th anniversary of one of their milestone albums - "Tales from the thousand lakes". The band decided to celebrate this moment together with their fans and with the special guest they invited for the tour. Swedish shooting star Avatarium is returning back to Tilburg for the opening slot.

Live review AMORPHIS / AVATARIUM, 013, Tilburg, 29.12.14
Live review AMORPHIS / AVATARIUM, 013, Tilburg, 29.12.14Live review AMORPHIS / AVATARIUM, 013, Tilburg, 29.12.14
Live review AMORPHIS / AVATARIUM, 013, Tilburg, 29.12.14Live review AMORPHIS / AVATARIUM, 013, Tilburg, 29.12.14Live review AMORPHIS / AVATARIUM, 013, Tilburg, 29.12.14
Live review AMORPHIS / AVATARIUM, 013, Tilburg, 29.12.14Live review AMORPHIS / AVATARIUM, 013, Tilburg, 29.12.14Live review AMORPHIS / AVATARIUM, 013, Tilburg, 29.12.14

Avatarium played their first show outside Sweden and their second show in total in Tilburg. This took place in spring as part of the Roadburn festival. In the meantime Avatarium played a few more shows and returned to Tilburg as special guest for Amorphis. And again the show was something special, since the 013 was the first venue they actually played twice.

At 20:00 the band entered the stage and started directly with the mighty "Moonhorse" into the show. What a riff. Unfortunaltely the venue was half empty, what changed during the set. Avatarium managed to get more and more people from the bar/smokers area towards the stage and at the end of the show the 013 was pretty crowded. A good sign which shows that the five-piece band is still increasing their fanbase with every show they play.

The setlist contained seven songs including the two new songs "All I want" and "Deep well". Not to forget the band highlights like the mentioned "Moonhorse" and "Avatarium".

Compared to the first show in Tilburg the Stockholm-based band performed more tight and it was also obvious that they have played a few shows together since I have seen them the last time. The stage acting reached another level compared to earlier this year. Marcus Jindell was, next to his excellent guitar play, animating the audience a couple of times and also Jennie-Ann Smith seemed to feel much more comfartable in her role. It's anyhow great to see hoe she 'lives' the songs while performing them. But I also want to mention Anders Iwers on bass and Lars Sköld on drums. Both provided the solid foundation for the songs together with the sphereful keyboards sounds of Carl Westholm.

Avatarium did a great job as being the opener and maybe next time they come back as headliner with a new album in the backpack.

Live review AMORPHIS / AVATARIUM, 013, Tilburg, 29.12.14

Than it was time for the headliner. I have to say that it was my first Amorphis show. I followed them from the "Tales of the thousand lakes" days, but for whatever reason I never managed to see them live. This changed now.

After a shorter break the guys from Finland entered the stage. As said in the beginning it was the 20th anniversary of the milestone album which built the base for this tour. And knowing that Amorphis started as a death metal band everybody expected a heavy night in the 013.

The 90 minutes showed what kind of development the band made during time. Having a more dark metal approach today the beginning phase of the band was focussing in heavy riffs and deep growls. But already in those days the keyboard has been intergrated and the music included also a melodic framework.

However, the first part of the show was reserved for the "Tales..." album. Amorphis played the entire album - meaning all the ten tracks from the original release. This included also songs like "First doom", "Forgotten sunrise" and "To father's cabin" that haven't been performed live since 1995. So it was really a special evening.

While saying this I have to add that after those ten classic death metal tracks Amorphis went even further back in time. The intro "Karelia", "Sign from the North side", "The gathering"  and the Abhorrence cover "Vulgar necrolatry" are taken from bands debut that was released in 1992. Really oldschool stuff what the six Finns played that night. And while I was listening to all those songs I was thinking that it would be actually something good to re-record the "Tales..." album since those songs are really good and could get an extra charm by a new production. Or a live album would have been a good idea too.

The last part of the show was paying attention to some highlights from the "Elegy" album that was released in 1996.

Obviously the band enjoyed playing those songs very much. It seemed to me that playing these shows are balancing a bit what they might miss a bit in the modern 'growl-less' approach of Amorphis.

I guess what pushed the band even further have been the enthusiastic reactions in the audience. It is amazing how many people came to an oldschool Amorphis show. The 013 was not totally sold out, but it was quite crowded giving the evening the right ambience.

To sum up. Amorphis took a very good decision to play this anniversary mini tour, since it was an exciting view back into the early days of the band. The show was highly entertaining and I can't imagine that there was anybody in the audience who didn't enjoy those 90 minutes. It was the right energizer after the Christams days and I hope, that it wasn't a once in a lifetime thing.

Live review AMORPHIS / AVATARIUM, 013, Tilburg, 29.12.14

Tracklist Amorphis

  1. Thousand lakes
  2. Into hiding
  3. The castaway
  4. First doom
  5. Black winter day
  6. Drowned maid
  7. In the beginning
  8. Forgotten sunrise
  9. Th father's cabin
  10. Magic and mayhem
  11. Karelia
  12. The gathering
  13. Sign from the North side
  14. Vulgar necrolatry
  15. Better unborn (Encore)
  16. Against widows (Encore)
  17. My kantele (Encore)
  18. Folk of the North (Encore)

 

Tracklist Avatarium

  1. Moonhorse
  2. Bird of prey
  3. All I want
  4. Tides of telepathy
  5. Deep well
  6. Pandora's egg
  7. Avatarium

 

Location: 013, Tilburg, The Netherlands

Date: 29.12.2014

Live review AMORPHIS / AVATARIUM, 013, Tilburg, 29.12.14
Live review AMORPHIS / AVATARIUM, 013, Tilburg, 29.12.14Live review AMORPHIS / AVATARIUM, 013, Tilburg, 29.12.14Live review AMORPHIS / AVATARIUM, 013, Tilburg, 29.12.14
Live review AMORPHIS / AVATARIUM, 013, Tilburg, 29.12.14Live review AMORPHIS / AVATARIUM, 013, Tilburg, 29.12.14Live review AMORPHIS / AVATARIUM, 013, Tilburg, 29.12.14
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AMORPHIS & AVATARIUM live in Tilburg...

Veröffentlicht am 30. Dezember 2014 von Markus W. in Amorphis, Avatarium, Heavy Metal, Death Metal, Classic Rock, Doom Metal, News

... review and more pics will follow.

AMORPHIS & AVATARIUM live in Tilburg...
AMORPHIS & AVATARIUM live in Tilburg...
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Interview with Marcus Jidell from AVATARIUM

Veröffentlicht am 21. Dezember 2014 von Markus W. in Avatarium, Candlemass, Heavy Metal, Doom Metal, Classic Rock, Interview, News, Amorphis

Swedish 'newcomers' Avatarium had a great year 2014. Their debut album was received very well by the metal community. Also the EP, that was released a few weeks ago, got a lot of positive feedback. And last but not least Avatarium played also quite some enthusiastic shows in 2014. That included their first gigs in Sweden as well as in Europe.

Since Avatarium had published the new EP and due to the fact that they will be on the road together with Amorphis between Christams and New Year it was the right moment for getting some further insights from Marcus Jidell, guitarist of the band. Enjoy reading.

 

MHMB: Hi Marcus. Great to have you on the phone. How are you?

Marcus: Thanks. Good to be here. I’m fine, eventhough it’s pretty dark and rainy here in Stockholm.

MHMB: End of the year Avatarium is coming back to Tilburg - the city where you have played the first show outside of Scandinavia. I guess coming back is something special for you.

Marcus: Indeed. It is a nice thing coming back to Tilburg. We all, except Jennie-Ann, have played there many times before and the 013 is a very nice venue. Therefore it’s a great thing to come back. And since last time it was one of our first shows we ever played, I hope that we will do an even better one this time.

MHMB: I think it was already a pretty good concert that you guys played as part of the Roadburn. I enjoyed it a lot.

Marcus: Yes, that’s right. It was quite OK, but we can do better. We always try to improve ourselves. We are still a new band and every show helps us to get better. We can see already at that stage a bigger improvement comparing the latest shows we did with the one in Tilburg from spring this year. For Avatarium it was on the one hand something very exciting to play already quite big shows in the beginning. But there is also the flipside of being new and maybe not having all the details perfectly in place.

MHMB: And it was a nice extra to find three songs from the mentioned Roadburn show on the EP.

Marcus: It was done by purpose. We wanted to show that Avatarium is not only in the studio – we are a live act. For us it is important to perform the songs and they are always a bit different when we play them live. Doubtless, we are playing our songs, but there are constantly some details here and there that make them sound slightly different. We don’t want to play them exactly the way they are on the album. It is fun for us to ‘experiment’ a little bit around with the music and we hope that it is entertaining for the audience too. We are a real live band that enjoys being on stage. We always try to give our best and if we get the energy back from the fans we become even more enthusiastic.

MHMB: Avatarium was very well received by metal fans from all over the world. I guess you guys have been really overwhelmed by this feedback.

Marcus: Yes, right. With both, the album and the EP, we did what we enjoyed and what we liked. Of course we have been thinking about how fans will receive it. That’s why we have been very happy; but also surprised by the huge amount of positive reaction from people. Almost every review I read was a positive one and that was something very unexpected. Then we worked on the EP and we have been curious what the fans will think about the two new songs, since we tried a few things that are a bit different. And again we got a great feedback.

Interview with Marcus Jidell from AVATARIUM

MHMB: You mentioned that a few things are slightly different on the EP. When I heard the new songs the first time I had the feeling that they are more classic rock, while the debut went more towards doom metal with mighty riffs. The new songs are for me more inspired by bands like Deep Purple and Rainbow. A scream from Jennie-Ann on “All I want” reminds me to Ian Gillan and some parts of “Deep well” sound like from the early Rainbow times.

Marcus: As said already, we wanted to try something that is a bit different. But it wasn’t that we said like ‘hey, let’s write a Rainbow song’. It was more that when I heard the last guitar solo on “Deep well” with Jennie-Ann singing I had all of a sudden the feeling of ‘wow, this sounds like Rainbow’. So it was something totally unplanned - and I like it, esp. since I love Rainbow. It was in the end a good thing that we experimented a bit, because it gave us the chance to see how much we like these little twists and also see how the fans will perceive it.

MHMB: You guys have a very special sound. Avatarium can be easily recognized and I was thinking about where it comes from. Is it the very diverse influences each of you brings into the band? Leif coming with the Candlemass experience, you having played in bands like Evergrey and Jennie-Ann has a total different musical background. Is this the secret of the band’s sound?

Marcus: Right. I think it is like that. We all have a few bands in common that we like. But we also want to bring in our personalities into the music. The songs need to be ‘us’. But it’s also the way Leif writes the songs. He’s thinking about my way of playing guitar and also about Jennie-Ann’s vocals. He is thinking about how I could continue working on the songs and how Jennie-Ann could. Leif is a very clever songwriter. Another thing is the fact that Jennie-Ann puts so much effort and energy into the vocals. She wants those to become her own. She tries to put all the feelings and emotions into the songs.

MHMB: How did the success story with Avatarium actually start?

Marcus: I was jumping in for Lars Johansson in Candlemass and also played with Krux for a few times. That’s how Leif and I found out that we have a lot in common when it comes to music and personality. Leif contacted me at a certain moment in time to work on a few song ideas. That was the start of Avatarium. The next step was that I asked Jennie-Ann if she could give it a try to do the vocals for Avatarium. We actually contacted also few other singers like for example Doogie White before we asked Jennie-Ann. No one had time at that moment and when we tried out with Jennie-Ann we had the feeling of listening to something we have never heard before. Her voice opened the door for us to write new music since she is very different from other singers. As said, she adds a lot of emotions and feeling to the music of Avatarium. You can feel the music.

MHMB: Is it also Jennie-Ann who is writing the lyrics of the songs?

Marcus: No, it actually is Leif that writes most of the lyrics. Jennie-Ann just did some of them like for e.g. “Deep well”.

MHMB: The songs and the lyrics have that kind of melancholic vibe. Where does this come from?

Marcus: Honestly, I don’t really know. Some people say that if you live up North with the all the darkness during winter time you get into this melancholic mood. You will also feel this special atmosphere by listening to Swedish folk music. However, we are happy people and what might help us is to put all the melancholy into the music.

Photo: Steff Granström (Promo)

Photo: Steff Granström (Promo)

MHMB: We mentioned Leif a few times. How is he doing right now?

Marcus: He is getting better. He is not 100% back yet, but we are working on new songs already. Live we still have Anders Iwers supporting us and that works very good.

MHMB: Looking on the success you have as a band, do you feel an extra pressure put on the band when it comes to the next album?

Marcus: I don’t think like that. Of course there is a certain pressure if you get such a great response, but we try to focus in what we want to do. We try to be as good as we can while staying honest to ourselves and our music. Our aim is to do another great album followed by another great album and to be able to tour in between.

MHMB: While you mention a new record from Avatarium – can you tell us already a bit on what to expect?

Marcus: We are right now in the beginning phase for the new album. We recorded two tracks that are in an early demo level. It’s basically that we have the foundation for the tracks done. So I can’t tell a lot about it at that stage. I guess it will be kind of mix between the debut and the EP when it comes to the sound. But it’s too early to say more about it.

MHMB: That sounds already very positive. Good to hear that there is a new album in the pipeline. I’m very much looking forward to it. I would like to say thank you for your time and I’m looking forward to see you on tour end of December together with Amorphis.

Marcus: Thanks for having me and thanks for supporting us.

Photo: Steff Granström (Promo)

Photo: Steff Granström (Promo)

Interview with Marcus Jidell from AVATARIUM
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CD review AVATARIUM "All I want" EP

Veröffentlicht am 27. November 2014 von Markus W. in Avatarium, Doom Metal, Heavy Metal, Classic Rock, News, CD Review

(9/10) Stockholm in 2012 - a new band joins the metal world. Avatarium. Yes, they have been new, but their members are very experienced guys. Actually it was Candlemass' Leif Edling who started the band. But with Marcus Jidell, Carl Westholm and Lasse Skoeld he added also very well known musicians. And Avatarium has with Jennie-Ann Smith a singer that is very unique in the world of metal. What she can do with her voice is amazing. It is pure emotion when she sings. For a long time I haven't heard a voice that transports emotions in such a authentic and intense way.

The debut if the band was simply called "Avatarium" and was highlight in 2013. For me one of the best records last year. Furthermore I had the chance to see the band on their first show outside of Scandinavia. They played in spring this year in Tilburg at the Roadburn festival and I can tell you the live performance was as good as the record (by the way, they are on tour in December together with Amorphis). The proof are the three live recordings on this EP, since all of them are from the mentioned show.

Avatarium works on their second longplayer, but in the meantime they released an EP with two new songs. "All I want" and "Deep well" are the names and both continue where "Avatarium" ended. "All I want" is a melodic doom song with some classic metal roots. A treat for your ears. The second song is a more silent one that reminds a bit to the band hymn "Moonhorse" - at least in parts. Along the way the song becomes more heavy and develops to a solemn doom beast.

"All I want" is another brilliant release from an outstanding band. And a great bridge till the new album will see the light of day. Looking forward to see them live again.

 

(9/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. All I want
  2. Deep well
  3. Pandora's egg (live)
  4. Tides of telepathy (live)
  5. Bird of prey (live)

 

Label: Nuclear Blast

Genre: Doom Metal

CD review AVATARIUM "All I want" EP
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AVATARIUM video for "All I want"

Veröffentlicht am 10. Oktober 2014 von Markus W. in Avatarium, Doom Metal, Classic Rock, Rock, Heavy Metal, News, Video

Here comes "All I want" from Avatarium. The band from Sweden continues their success story that stared with their debut and some successful shows. Great music from great musicians. Thumbs up again.

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