AVATAR - HAIL THE APOCALYPSE (Gain Music Entertainment/Sony Music)
I’m old schooled and I still fall for the old school fashioned Metal looks. The Bay Area Thrashers from some decades ago, that was cool! But times change and the new looks works for the youth although I dare to question if masks are more important than the music. Diversity? That’s the key word nowadays, magical for some, dangerous to me. I speak in contradictions, I know but the oldies amongst us know what I am talking about. Back then there was Kiss, there was Alice Cooper and there was King Diamond and we knew what they were standing for. Nowadays it’s more complicated and so I have the new Avatar in my hands. Strange to see anyway that a bigger label sends albums to a little webzine like ours… but you don’t hear me complain.
If it wasn’t because of the fact Avatar will appear on the next edition of the Alcatraz Festival I would probably never searched for the band, just because of those looks. They maintained my attention in the magazines because of the weird outfit from singer Johannes Eckerström, some kind of psycho clown but that was it. Seen from strategic point this is an ideal issue for the band to maintain the attention of the bigger crowd and that counts. No? Yes? It means anyway that masks still work on the public, Slipknot can tell.
But we need to focus on the music and Avatar, heading from the Gothenburg scène in Sweden, delivers with “Hail the apocalypse” their fifth full album. They are labelled as melodic Death Metal but in my belief they has risen above that style with this record. I agree there are more than a handful of ingredients of this style in their music but Avatar does much more. They sound more as a modern Metal band, groovy at some points but especially focused to mix melody with these ingredients. What made a band like for example Rammstein for the big crowd irresistible, and pretty unique to me, Avatar also uses in this new album. It makes them hard to identify in the Metal scène but Avatar contains everything to become a big and mainstream popular band too. They have the sound, the special effects and overall the amazing wall of sound to become big business. This is the kind of band that is able to set a place on fire and I am pretty sure they will enlighten the fire to make Alcatraz burn in a few months. They have the amazing strong song writing to convince, live and on this record!
I go back to my first sentences that this bizarre kind of looks are not necessary to me to decide either a band is strong or not. Avatar doesn’t actually need the looks of this crazy front man to become a new sensation but it won’t miss its effect. Thankfully Avatar delivers a very good album that proves me wrong about the fact that in my opinion too many musicians are searching for something unique, besides their music, to get into the picture. Avatar does both and therefore I can only advice any Metal head to take a good listen, even if you’re close minded as I am. Great album that I especially adore more because of those freaked out carnival samples in it and the fact this band knows how to seduce the listeners. A song like “Tower”, to mention one, says enough to decide how strong these guys really are! Check the title track video on YouTube or the website http://www.avatar.com . For Alcatraz Festival check: http://www.alcatraz.be .
My Points: 87 / 100
95+ : Outstanding, high valued albums & Classic Ones… a direct purchase is advisable !
Between 90 and 95: Surpasses the style of music, must be heard/ordered by every Metal fan
Between 80 and 89: Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it
Between 70 and 79: Decent but best previewing
Between 60 and 69: Rather moderate
Between 50 and 59: Bad, substandard
50- : Rubbish