(9/10) One of last years newcomers is definitely Swedish rock/metal outfit Avatarium. I can remember the moment when "Moonhorse", the first song I heard from them, just blew me away. The combination of atmospheric moments in a context of doom metal and female vocals was something that worked more than well. Slowly the star of Avatarium was rising with a jaw-dropping good debut, a first show outside Sweden, which was a concert that took place in Tilburg, The Netherlands and a great sophomore release "The Girl With the Raven Mask". The band continuously increased their fan base and belongs in the meantime to the really hot bands in rock and metal.
2017 is the year of Avatarium's third strike. The album is slightly different - and not. What changed is that the band announced a while ago a new bass player, Mats Rydström. This role belonged so far to doom metal dinosaur and band founder Leif Edling, who decided to take a step back, but he will not let loose completely. Edling is still working with the band but more in the background and as a mentor, which also means that the role of guitarist Marcus Jidell and singer Jennie-Ann Smith gained in importance.
All the mentioned fortunately didn't have a bigger impact on Avatarium's sound. "Hurricanes and Halos" feel more like an organic development of the bands sound. The tendencies towards classic rock, which have been already very present on the last album, gained even more momentum. The opener "Into the Fire - Into the Storm" underlines this already from minute one onwards. The tune is an up-tempo classic rocker with a mystical expression. The organ does together with guitar and vocals a great job, making this song to a clear statement in rock. Another track that's build on a similar pattern is "The Sky at the Bottom of the Sea". It almost feels like the old Rainbow days are back. Both tracks belong to my personal faves on the album.
A song that's a bit different is "Road to Jerusalem". It's a slower paced semi acoustic song that comes with a high level of intensity, followed by a vigorous drumbeat that introduces "Medusa Child". With nine minutes playtime the track is the longest one on the album. It's an epic masterpiece that includes almost everything Avatarium stands for - heavy riffs, a precise working rhythm section, awesome vocals and some more unexpected moments like a children's choir half way down the road. "Medusa Child" is an epos that belongs to the most mature songs the band ever released.
"Hurricanes and Halos" stands for another big step forward. Over the last years, Avatarium developed towards a powerful player in the fields of classic rock and metal, a journey that has a lot of potential to go ahead for many more years.
- Into the Fire - Into the Storm
- The Starless Sleep
- Road to Jerusalem
- Medusa Child
- The Sky at the Bottom of the Sea
- When Breath Turn to Air
- A Kiss (From the End of the World
- Hurricanes and Halos
Label: Nuclear Blast
Genre: Classic Rock/Metal
Release Date EU: May 26th, 2017