The words eclectic are thrown around far too often in the world of music, however if there was one such band to deserve the accolade it would be Sweden’s Avatar. Bringing their unique brand of Metal to the world, each with a conceptual spin, their latest offering Avatar Country, could well be their most grandiose statement yet. If you thought that melding Country, Dragonforce style leads and spoken word about an enema wasn’t possible, think again…
This madcap sense of “what next?!” lies in Avatar Country’s charm, bringing the listener on a journey that is more than just conceptual! From the moment that the manly choir soars with “Glory To Our King” we’re, to coin a phrase, asked to “expect the unexpected”. Breaking into eighties speed shred “Legend of The King”s opening solo stakes its claim for the best on the album showcasing the six string aptitude of lead shredders Jonas Jarlsby and Tim Öhrström.
Thinking you might be wrapping your ears around the Country stylings of “The King Welcome’s You To Avatar Country” before a momentary jazz number is thrown in followed by a Motley Crüe style guitar solo. It makes for a fantastically entertaining listen and its sheer odd pairing makes for it to be strangely memorable. We’re then launched into the Groove Metal of “Kings Harvest” which wouldn’t sit out of place in Sepultura’s catalogue amid crooning Layne Staley style vocals. Despite me name dropping all sorts Avatar bring all of these different sensibilities retaining their own, defined style without becoming a pastiche of genres. The slip slide of “The King Wants You” or the on off beat of “A Statue of The King” classic nineties style chorus brings an air of accessibility to the band despite their madcap antics.
Moving towards the tail end of the album, the record slows down somewhat with instrumentals “Silent Songs of the King Pt. 1 : Winter Comes When The King Dreams of Snow” and “Silent Songs of The King : Pt 2. : The Kings Palace”. A pretty ballsy move to close out the album with an eight minute instrumental. Perhaps here is where we see just how important Avatar’s vocalist Johannes Eckerstrom presence is in driving the band. Expressing themselves with a broad musical vocabulary, Avatar have made a stake for what can surely be the most eclectic record of 2018 and its only January! Yet rather than it becoming a paint by numbers affair each track has its rightful place and despite the jarring stylistic changes all fit within the context of the album. Sadly dipping slightly as the record finishes, other than that the record is a fun foray into the world of the madcap misfits that are Avatar.
3.5 / 5