There is always a touch of class about everything that Swedish rockers Avatarium do. Generally looked on as a Doom Metal band by the Metal scene due to their links to Candlemass and some deliciously heavy riffs on their eponymous full length debut album, the truth is that there is so much more to them.
Avatarium – An Evening With Avatarium (Nuclear Blast)
Release Date: 4 December 2020 (Digital Only)
Words: Ian Sutherland
They can be super heavy of course, but there is an elegance to how they approach their music that gives them a unique slant, bridging the gap between their seventies Rock influences and modern Metal sensibilities, with vocalist Jennie-Ann Smith coming at the whole thing with a fresh and unique approach.
Unable to tour on the back of their fourth studio album ‘The Fire I Long For’ released last year, they luckily had arranged for a hometown gig in Stockholm in January to be filmed. Thus while COVID-19 kept them home, at least film of the band in concert can get out there.
Marcus Jidell told MetalTalk: “This is the tour we should have made in 2020. In these hard and challenging times we hope you will get some good energy and power from our doomy, intense, dynamic and heavy show!!”
The show was made available to their fan base in a download only format including a print it yourself DVD cover and it is a beautifully filmed and well mixed account of how this hugely talented outfit performed in front of an enthusiastic crowd of fellow Swedes.
Now the audio from the show has also been made available as a digital only release through Nuclear Blast, so Avatarium fans can have this blasting out of their car speakers, headphones and home stereos without having to sit and watch the show.
The quality of the musicians here just jumps out at you through every song. Smith’s vocals, ranging from breathy intense tones to plaintive wails and anguished screams, always seek out the soul of the song and give it the voice it needs.
Drummer Andreas Hobo Johansson and bassist Mats Rydstrom form a fiery and imaginative rhythm section. Keyboard player Rickard Nilsson’s Hammond organ stylings are a massive part of the Avatarium sound and really the glue between the classic Rock and Metal influences that swirl around the stage.
The guitar work of Marcus Jidell is the icing on this tasty musical cake. He is not so much underrated, as totally off most people’s radar. This is genuinely one of the finest guitarists of his generation, a towering talent and a listen to his work here on the moody ‘The Fire I Long For’ and the epic twists and turns of ‘Pearls And Coffins’ makes my point for me.
These guys are no slouches on the song writing front either and whether it is the heavy thrusts of the song ‘Avatarium’, the old school high energy of ‘The Girl With The Raven Mask’ or the groovy atmospherics of ‘Rubicon’, there is plenty here that will stick in your mind long after a first listen.
There is a lush, almost sophisticated vibe to this album as it feels crafted rather than just recorded.
That is not because it is over produced though. Like their forbears, Avatarium have produced a real live album where the songs sound different to the studio versions because it is just five people on a stage, playing the songs together with no trickery or assistance.
All Viktor Stenquist’s mix does is let you hear everything they are doing and it sounds wonderful.
This is a superb live album and proves that these guys are unique.
It is really hard to do the music journalist thing and say they sound like X band or Y band because they don’t!
They just sound like Avatarium and that is more than enough for me.