The first full-length effort of Leif Edling's newest project has been one of the most anticipated releases of 2013 for this old-school psyche'n'doom fan. On the back of the Moonhorse EP from earlier this year, it became apparent that this album was going to be something of a delight for Candlemass fans, and, with textures sitting very competently astride the current predilection of the metal scene for prog and retro vibes, a whole load of others besides. Despite the popularity of such things, there is no obvious bandwagon jumping evident here, with material that is unique to itself, yet is undeniably another strong link in the heritage of Edling's musical creativity.
Thematically, Avatarium has a fragmented, dreamlike quality that the sometimes unconventional song structures emphasise, with lyrics that invoke dark, evasive fairytales, sorcerous conspiracies and the red grimness of nature. Jennie-Ann Smith's vocals add a crucial element to the realisation of these aesthetics and are one of the obvious highlights, delivering an enchantment and power that echoes the presence, phrasing and strength of Messiah Marcolin in female form.
With its higher level of experimentation, the riffs are more reminiscent of mid-era Candlemass like From The 13th Sun, Candlemass and the Abstrakt Algebra material than early albums like Tales of Creation or Nightfall. Though the doomier sections are strong and crushing and bear all the trademarks of their prodigious creator, it is the lighter interludes that carve up the boulder-heavy slabs of doom which add a subtlety and depth of interest that makes Avatarium more than the quick spin off project that Edling's doom supergroup Krux - for all of its quality material - has often felt like.
Avatarium are one of those bands that release an astonishing début album and get absolutely no recognition for it what soever. Whilst bands like Iron Maiden keep churning out the same bloated rubbish and selling millions, a five piece band like Avatarium can record what is essentially one of the best albums I have heard in the last 10 years and no one will have heard of it at all.
The band is a new group brought together by doom metal master Leif Edling, known for the veteran band Candlemass. He recruited Carl Westholm, Mercus Jidell and Lars Sköld to fill in the band and recruited the unknown beauty Jennie-Ann Smith to sing lead vocals. A great line up of musicians and one that comes together so well that it would be a shame to see anyone one of them go.
If you're familiar with Edling's past material than you'd be familiar with the style of the album. The songs have this horrifically slow, Black Sabbath trademark sound. Every song is full of plodding, hard hitting riffs but are rounded off with the angelic voice of Jennie-Ann Smith. She brings a certain quality to the music that is not seen very often in music. She does not use any falsetto screams, no growling or anything of the sort. Just her genuine singing ability. The band hit their stride on the song Bone Flower, which is easily the most radio friendly song on the album. It is accompanied with a rather twisted music video which is worth checking out. Other album highlights are Moon Horse and Bird of Prey. Though if I am absolutely honest, every song on this album is top quality in every way. There are plenty of tasteful guitar solos, top notch drumming, orchestrated keyboards and so on.
I don't know if there is any faults in this album because my ears can't find one. The pacing is perfect, the sound is sharp, the vocals are lovely and the riffs are a little bit beyond catchy. Crystal clear production is also in the band's favour. Avatarium could have very easily have been ruined by the typical bombastic production of the "loudness wars". Thankfully a lot of time and care went into making sure the album sounds as gorgeous as it does.Though not everyone likes the same things. Someone else might find something they don't like about it. Whether it's the slow tempos, the unusual song writing or even the female vocals. But to me, this is a perfect album and you'd be hard pressed to make me think otherwise.
I knew nothing of this project, but I am glad with out a shadow of doubt that I discovered this magnificent release. Totally taken back by the vocal performance, sheer beauty contrasting with the brutal riffs that manage to meld together as if they were never meant to be apart. There is a great sense of depth on offer through the gradual shifts from a barrage of distortion to delicately picked guitar strings, great compositions.
Overall, a great effort from every member/component, which is what a band is all about & these guys show it in abundance.
As a big fan of female-fronted symphonic metal music, it was interesting to hear a non-symphonic album sung bu a non-soprano or mezzo-soprano female. In fact, this could be described as Black Sabbath sung by a woman. If you are into long multi-part metal tracks with Sabbath style riffs, this is a must. The album is simply immaculate and the songs contain one great riff after another. The biggest compliment I can give Avatarium is that it is comparable to the great Sabbath albums for its overall level of quality.
If you like the thought of the heavy guitar sound of Tony Iommi (Black Sabbath) but with a female singer try this cd. I personally love it & think Jennie Ann Smith has got a fantastic voice. For me the stand out track on this album is "Lady In The Lamp" which is a stunning ballad.
New band, I heard a track played on planet rock radio and it grabbed me immediately, within the hour I had ordered the album and was not disappointed with the whole album, a great mix of rock music with the beautiful voice of Jennie-Ann Smith which creates a unique blend of hard rock and soft vocals.
Took a flyer on this one as it's from the GOD OF DOOM Leif Edling himself.
I didn't go far wrong. Can't say as it's overly DOOMY but it Rocks. Lot's of RIFFAGE in a more trad METUHL way than Candlemass, there's organ insertions and what is probably sampletron too and there's a chick singer. I suppose if you ever wanted to hear what a Candlemass/Purple/Rainbow/Euro Chick Gothic Metal mash up would sound like then you'd find out here. Boneflower could even fit on Purson's album.