Hail The Apocalypse

Written by: MN on 30/05/2014 15:31:45

Avatar most commonly brings to mind James Cameron's epic that retells a futuristic version of Pocahontas through the love relations of a blue anthropomorphic extra-terrestrial and a typical American army hero. This Avatar is a completely different story. Having more than a solid decade notch on their belt, this Swedish quintet have remained largely under the radar for the larger part of their career. It was especially with the release of "Black Waltz" that the Swedish arena metal lads started to shake up a storm on the scene. To further catalyze their influence, a tour with the hugely popular Avenged Sevenfold exposed their carnevalesque shows with focus on groovy riffs and Randy Blythe-esque growls.

Avatar are a band that are firmly rooted within melodic death metal and coming from its strongest bastion, Gothenburg. The quintet is fronted by Johannes Eckerström, a man who retains the shock-value and charisma of Marilyn Manson and a very strong vocal range. There are elements of both Murderdolls and Static-X, and of course the more theatrical productions of Avenged Sevenfold. "Hail The Apocalypse" is another very strong album that showcases their brilliant variety and instrumental prowess. It is largely an album that makes you want to experience Avatar live. Their production is penetrative, dynamic and vibrant. The instrumentation is layered so densely that it recalls something like a Andrew WK production. Although nowhere near as silly, this comparison is completely appropriate as the "party value" of Avatar's music cannot be denied.

This can be witnessed by the opening eponymous track "Hail The Apocalypse" where a catchy riff inflicts an insatiable need to headbang wildly. "What I Don't Know" slows things down heavily. I was slightly concerned for the first minute, until the dramatic introduction brings another heavy onset of riffing in the best Avatar style. The bass is allowed some centre stage time in the ultra heavy "Death Of Sound" which brings to life the melodeath roots in which they are raised. The second single "Bloody Angel" allows for Johannes to use more of his decent clean vocals, but it is definitely when he is screaming that he becomes a real force to be reckoned with, as witnessed in the facemelter "Murderer". The party value is visciously reinforced with the German sung "Tsar Bomba". Likewise, "Puppet Show" has some polka rhythms and a circus-like vibe to it, yet it is still heavy as hell, which definitely reminiscent of System Of A Down. To end this mammoth of an album is "Tower" which is a lengthy and brooding composition that develops beautifully with ambient sounds slowly revealing an increase in tension and finally unleashes a cataclysmic finalé.

This is one of the more surprising discoveries for me this year and therefore my recent infatuation with the band leaves it a little difficult to find anything to be critical about. To me, this record is all about comedy, art, drama and emotion that is meant to be enjoyed with you headbanging, preferably at one of their live shows.


Download: Hail The Apocalypse, Tsar Bomba, Murderer
For The Fans Of: Murderdolls, Soilwork, Lamb Of God
Listen: facebook.com

Release date 14.05.2014
GAIN music

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