">
 

Comets on Fire
Avatar


4.5
superb

Review

by sweboy USER (1 Reviews)
January 5th, 2007 | 16 replies


Release Date: 2006 | Tracklist


With this 2006 release, Santa Cruz rockers Comets on Fire in a way continues naturally in the direction that they set for themselves with their previous album, "Blue Cathedral", where they choose a more accessible path than they had previously been on. And when viewed in the light of the band's noisy earlier work, Avatar comes off as a much more cleaned up and structured effort. With more articulated melodies and less fussy distortion, the music now holds a greater resemblance to the classic rock and progressive rock of the 60’s and 70's than ever before. The excellent, more detailed production and the higher frequency of calmer parts contribute to a less chaotic and messy impression, but the album still doesn't wander off too far from the band's hard rockin' roots. Because that's what Comets on Fire is about, rockin’ hard.

The stirring masterpiece "Dogwood Rust", which surely qualifies as one of the best rock songs of 2006, sets the tone of the album right away. Lead singer Ethan Miller's smooth, alluring vocal melodies perfectly embedded in a dynamic wall of attentive and energetic accompaniment makes for an opening track dripping with psychedelic rock goodness. The ever-present gnarling guitar tags along and leads the song into a living, breathing rock and roll jam filled with haunting guitar havoc. The band then continues their guitar driven rock journey with "Jaybird", which sports riffing that could have been written by Jimi Hendrix himself, and with this as a starting point carries on into for the band somewhat unexplored territories. Their guiding star is of course the excellent guitar work, delivered by Miller and Six Organs of Admittance prodigy Ben Chasny. The more traditional amp settings allows the guitar melodies to be more distinct than on the band's past, perhaps more experimental work, and the album contains countless heavy rock and roll riffs, affluent licks and screeching solos, often grinding their way trough hazy noise rock turmoils.

The rest of the instrumentation is exquisite as well, and manages to keep a high energy level up without getting violent or aggressive. The music has, with much thanks to the intense, eager drum work, a very nice continuous flow to it, which gives the band very solid but never tedious foundations to build around. And they do so very skillfully, as they incorporate every part of the band into their sound and manage to give an extremely tight and amalgamated impression, without by any means turning it all into thick, uniform goo. This description does not exclude the vocals, which, although more distinguishable than on the band’s earlier work where they were mostly found deeply buried under noisy jams, are not as strongly highlighted as is typical in rock music. Instead the for the most part very softly, almost dazedly sung vocals blend perfectly into the overall sound. But this is not a static position, as they sometimes are found closer to the foreground, like on the soft, piano accompanied, almost ballad-like "Lucifer's Memory" and sometimes frantically screamed from under a heavy mess, like on the hectic noise rock blast "Hole Teeth".

When listening to "Avatar", you will often find yourself wishing that it's wonderful, intense guitar furies would never come to an end. You want the band to continue deeper and deeper into heavy psychedelic noise rock muddles, to set sail into unknown waters of coordinated experimentation and amp assault and never look back. But this is perhaps where the album is lacking a bit. Like mentioned, this time the band choose a more traditional path than previously, and while what they actually accomplish on this path is nearly impeccable it feels like there was, now with magnificent production and a more melodic sound than before, much potential in a heavier, more psychedelic approach with longer songs and even more liberal song structures. Despite this, "Avatar" is probably the band's best album to date, and definitely the most accessible. From the heavy rock and roll riffs of "The Swallow's Eye" to the organic prog droning of "Sour Smoke", it displays great diversity as well as excellent songwriting and musicianship. In an alternative music world that mostly seems to be heading in the opposite direction of greats like King Crimson and Jimi Hendrix, "Avatar" serves as an extremely refreshing breeze that sweeps you along to the arcane pine forests of California and gives you a noisy, smoky reminder of what rock and roll is all about. Dynamic, robust and brumous, this is truly an impressive album.


user ratings (87)
3.8
excellent


Comments:Add a Comment 
ValiumMan
January 5th 2007


493 Comments


This sounds like Blue Cathedral minus the noise and the heavy delay effects. It's good, but lacking the originality of earlier releases. I'd prefer Blue Cathedral over this any day. Good review, though.

Neoteric
January 5th 2007


3243 Comments


Well-written review.

Jom
Staff Reviewer
January 5th 2007


3243 Comments


This sounds pretty cool. Very good review, too.
Hope you stick around here and continue to write instead of getting de-repped in the Pitotorium or whatever, heh.
Cheers.

The Jungler
January 5th 2007


4826 Comments


Very nice review, you should post more/whatever Jom said.
I get in the mood for this kind of music occasionally, so maybe I'll check this sometime.

pixiesfanyo
January 5th 2007


1223 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah, this band/album is killer.

Eliminator
January 5th 2007


2067 Comments


I'm not sure whether I like this more than Blue Cathedral or not.

Both are great though.

AlienEater
January 5th 2007


716 Comments


this band are cool

handoman
February 1st 2009


2386 Comments


this rules

gaslightanthem
April 17th 2009


5208 Comments


ya so this is v v good

feav233
December 6th 2009


1411 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

nice review, i prefer this album over blue cathedral

Ire
July 12th 2011


41945 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

dig dig dig so hard hey flags you need this

livingisland
April 12th 2012


527 Comments


More people need to hear this album

Ire
October 27th 2012


41945 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

ikr

SadAndHolyGlow
December 6th 2012


1615 Comments


Whatever.

ProfessorVeerappan
August 1st 2013


809 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

this album has a few bumps here and there

but indeed a well put review that the endless wish of the album not to end and the psychedelia taking you places

irrespective of their past fails

this album has a few things to offer still crazy shit

....

hel9000
Contributing Reviewer
July 10th 2020


1086 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

awesome album

Digging: Sloping - Completed Songs



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2019 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy