Avatarium
Avatarium


4.5
superb

Review

by John Marinakis USER (26 Reviews)
November 6th, 2013 | 26 replies | 9,217 views


Release Date: 11/04/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Rest In Peace Candlemass. All hail Avatarium.

8 of 8 thought this review was well written

Upon the release of Candlemass’s eleventh album, Leif Edling, came forth with a bitter announcement in regards to the future of the band. Psalms for the Dead would be their last studio album. I must admit, the news affected me greatly. I felt disappointment, but I understood the reasons behind this unexpected decision. Still, it wasn’t easy to accept it. The delicate nature of my character was the cause for my provisional grief. For some reasons, I use to rely my huge expectations and trust on older bands and I receive all the newcomers with skepticism and doubt. So when the news about Edling’s participation in a new project spread out, I took them with a grain of salt.

So, Leif closed the book on Candlemass, what is he up to now ? If your assumption is “more Epic Doom Metal”, then you estimated correctly. And it doesn’t come as huge surprise since this man has the style of Doom into his blood. For this album, Edling paid a long-awaited visit to his first years as a professional musician. He drew inspiration from the very first albums he wrote while he was on Candlemass and decided to re-define the powerful, Unholy sounds of Damnation. He aimed on bringing back the powerful tales of epic poetry of the first four Candlemass records. However, you must bear in mind that Avatarium’s debut is NOT another album from the said group. And that is a good thing, because with that direction, the project was bound to failure from the very first day of its conception. For his venture into this tour de force, Leif teamed up with a bunch of very talented musicians. Apart from Edling on his acquainted role, we’ve got percussionist Lars Skold (Tiamat), keyboardist Carl Westhom, (Candlemass), guitarist Marcus Jidell (Evergrey) and vocalist extraordinaire Jennie-Ann Smith.

The album itself can be analyzed as a mixture of good ol’ Epic Doom Metal with Classic Rock influences and varied references, from the Psychedelic music of the late 60’s to Rainbow and to Blue Oyster Cult. An explosive compound which is scoped and developed under the aegis of the Doom Metal genre. And what would be Doom Metal without riffs ? Edling knows that all too well and as an expert in this field, he deliver some of his best ideas. The result of his collaboration with Jidell is magnificent. At first I felt worried by the fact that there is no second guitarist in the band, an omission that could lead to inefficient results. You can’t have Doom Metal with feeble guitar work. After listening to the first three songs, I ruled these worries out. Heavier than a tombstone, the guitar annihilates everything in its path. For example, the introductory riffs of Moonhorse and Avatarium spread utter devastation. The density that comes out of the guitar is crushingly impeccable. The riffs have the size of an elephant. The solos on the other side are melodic and painful. But truly, what won my attention in the first place, was the combination of these monstrous riffs with the softer, acoustic parts and interludes. The above-mentioned influences are diffused among the tracks, forming a wall of medieval sounds that encircle the album completely. For example, Moonhorse features a haunting slide solo that may remind you of Blackmore’s work in Rising. Lady In The Lamp is one of the best closing ballads I have heard in a while, yet another reference on Blackmore’s group, as it may retell you the story of the ballad Rainbow Eyes. After the first couple of listens, it becomes clear that the band was aiming for an approach where emotion comes before technicality.

Further on, the album has two sides. One side that is heavy, and another side that is softer. If Edling and Jidell are responsible for the heavy parts, Jennie-Ann Smith is responsible for the soft side by bringing expressiveness and further emotion. Where the album surprises is not in the excellent work of the instruments, but in the presence of an amazing vocalist. Smith is the revelation of Avatarium. With her impulsive performance, Smith navigates perfectly the crushing sounds and brings the necessary equilibrium. If you need a detailed description of her voice, you will need a lot of adjectives. Emotional, fragile, powerful, seductive, divine are only some of the words I could use to describe her. Listeners should avoid the chance of looking for similarities between Smith and other famous female metal singers, for they'll find none. Smith doesn't possess the trademark operatic vocals, for which many female-fronted metal bands are known for and that's for a good reason. Edling wasn't looking for that sort of thing. He wanted a vocalist with a bluesy tone and the choice of recruiting Smith was spot on. There were times when Smith reminded me of Janis Joplin. “Outrageous”, some of you may say. But honestly, to me, it is as Joplin was reborn inside Smith’s body. She is the key that holds Avatarium's independence and the main reason the band doesn't sound as a caricature of Candlemass. When it comes to singing, Jennie-Ann Smith is quite simply the biggest newcomer of this year.

Leif Edling proved once again why he is considered one of the biggest figures in the Doom Metal community. As a fine example of a good working man, Edling’s creative and troubled mind couldn’t sit tight during his post-Candlemass era. He was quickly looking for a new field. But never in a million years had I expected him to make such triumphant return. It requires some special skills in order to take all the old tricks -the melancholic atmosphere, the riffs, the moods, the melodies- and re-introduce them in such a way to create something that sounds so refreshing and outstanding. Edling has simply outdone himself. Taking sides with a fantastic crew, Edling had a good chance to step out of the boundaries of Candlemass and further develop his ideas towards new directions. A magnificent debut, quite possibly his best work since Nightfall.

Recommended tracks: (Every single song is great, but if you MUST hear the absolutely essentials check these)

Moonhorse
Pandora's Egg
Avatarium
Bird of Prey
Lady in the Lamp



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user ratings (55)
Chart.
4.1
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
rockandmetaljunkie
November 5th 2013



3302 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

http://www.terrorizer.com/news/streams/stream-avatariums-debut-album-exclusively-terrorizer

Here is the stream for this album.

rockandmetaljunkie
November 5th 2013



3302 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

For you Voivod.

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
November 6th 2013



5918 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Thanks man.

Excellent review pos, it does full justice to the album.

Review should be featured.




One suggestion:

Furher on

Further on



Edit:

The origins of Avatarium - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q03JcDjBiTI

Digging: Essence Beyond - Carnivalism

manosg
November 6th 2013



5720 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

People should really listen to this one. It's up there with the best of 2013.

Review is excellent, pos.

manosg
November 6th 2013



5720 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Also, review should be featured. [2]

TheNotrap
November 6th 2013



7981 Comments


Pretty good review Rock.
Will check this out.

rockandmetaljunkie
November 6th 2013



3302 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Thanks guys. Vod, this album is in dire need of an "official" review, so that it gets the attention it deserves. So get down to work once you feel more comfortable with your busy schedule.

conesmoke
November 6th 2013



5177 Comments


Avatarium: A central room or space in buildings, open to the sky in the middle.

Now THAT's metal. m/

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
November 6th 2013



5918 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I hear you rock, I'll see what I can do mate.



CaptainDooRight
November 6th 2013



28335 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

whoa wat i gotta check this

Digging: IQ - The Road of Bones

CaptainDooRight
November 6th 2013



28335 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

posd nice rev

sounds solid so far,

aggelosm
November 10th 2013



470 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is the shit.. Greatest doom metal in the past years.
also review was well written. Pos!

CaptainDooRight
November 10th 2013



28335 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yea rules bro

rockandmetaljunkie
November 10th 2013



3302 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Glad you liked it guys.

CaptainDooRight
November 10th 2013



28335 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

hard


PunchforPunch
November 14th 2013



5892 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

3.5 + cool artwork

linguist2011
Contributing Reviewer
November 27th 2013



1846 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Beautiful vocals, epic atmosphere, powerfully heavy rhythm section and a collection of extremely well-written songs. That's essentially what Avatarium's self-titled album is made up of, and then some. Seriously though, this really has impressed me time and again with near enough every single song. The title track is ambitious, 'Bird of prey' is enchanting and 'Pandora's egg' has some of the best solos in a Doom Metal album I've heard this year. The vocals are luscious, hypnotic and certainly never take away from the overall quality of the album, and together with brilliant instrumentation this whole album is near enough flawless. The only thing that I can think of disliking slightly is that some of the solos are less effective than others, but that's not saying much at all.

Digging: Black Anvil - Hail Death

manosg
November 27th 2013



5720 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I can't see why more people don't include this album in their "Best of 2013" lists.

PunchforPunch
November 29th 2013



5892 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i will

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
December 7th 2013



5918 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Leif Edling (Avatarium) interview - http://www.deadrhetoric.com/features/avatarium-behold-the-darkin-paradise/





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