Avatar - Black Waltz

Avatar - Black Waltz

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(CD, eOne Music, 2012)

After almost a decade I have learned like Pavlov’s dogs to expect something good upon hearing Sweden as the point of origin for a new or unknown to me band. And how couldn’t be? Most of the new Swedish Metal bands bring something new to the table that also tastes different than the rest of the releases. I am happy to say that this mouthwatering experience was awarded as the new AVATAR album was spinning inside the CD player (it’s uncool to use mp3 terms…)

As the down-tuned riff of “Let Us Die” opens the album, the fear of something from the overused Metalcore recipe book creped out from the speakers but fortunately monuments later it faded away as the almost MINISTRY groove kicked in. The deep close-to-growling singing along with the DISTURBED’s Draiman influences draws the listener’s attention as the guitar solo and the underlying bass doodle make things even more interesting. Yeah, everything is packed in the album opener that also works as a neck warm-up, since there are more groove rhythms on the way. What I really liked in this album is that although AVATAR use many industrial finishing touches, they do not remain still, but mix their sound with several references. The melodic Death Metal oriented “Ready For The Ride” with a granite solid drum-work is a sample and a proof that the Swedes know their way around heavier sound forms. Still, playing groovy is the main goal here, so “Napalm” might even throw some Stoner references in the mix or can ring the SENTENCED bell, especially through the dark and thick atmosphere in the vocals, the background keyboard and clean guitar melodies. The chorus is destined to haunt your mind from the very first encounter, while no one will say no to some PANTERA-esque staccato breaks.

Indeed, all of the above is present in this album and it wouldn’t be too much to add even more references that are alien to each other. At the same time, AVATAR seem to have their own identity even if that is molded by several distinct influences. Hell, I can even mention Marylyn Manson as an influence for “Let It Burn” that also brings again Stoner in the discussion via the killer guitar riffs. Did I confuse you? Maybe I did, but this only proves how interesting is this album. Something that messed my very good impression for this album was the drums’ sound that is too compressed and digitized for my taste (especial the bass-drum).

This is not recommended for those who want their music strictly categorized under the distinct Metal genres and be described in a ten words sentenced. AVATAR have something really interesting here and it would be a shame if I missed commenting on the harmonica and the banjo melodies found in the 9 minutes of the album closer “Use Your Tongue” that still maintains a Heavy and -yet again- groovy profile.





01. Let Us Die
02. Torn Apart
03. Ready For The Ride
04. In Napalm
05. Black Waltz
06. Blod
07. Let It Burn
08. One Touch
09. Paint Me Red
10. Smells Like A Freakshow
11. Use Your Tongue


Henrik Sandelin - Bass
John Alfredsson - Drums
Simon Andersson - Guitars
Jonas Jarlsby - Guitars
Johannes Michael Gustaf Eckerström - Vocals