Avatarium - Avatarium

Avatarium - Avatarium

(CD, Nuclear Blast, 2013)

Allow me to be brutally honest and confess my serious second thoughts I had the moment I learned that Leif was about to release new music with the AVATARIUM band fronted by a woman. I mean, why the hell isn’t he working on CANDLEMASS? Does this mean that he reached a musician’s dead end without any inspiration left? As soon as the first details of the album were released and most importantly the album’s cover artwork, I quickly changed my mind sensing that good things were on the making. After all, the AVATARIUM lineup has highly skilled musicians, so it has to be good, right?

The opening down-tuned and ultra-heavy guitar riff comes as a powerful answer blowing all my doubts into thin air. Yeah, Lief does justice to his rich Doom Metal history with some really heavy riffage but before the accusations of copying himself start flying, let Jennie-Ann Smith walk the extra miles for AVATARIUM. This is far for being the typical female singer possessing a hearty 70s timbre and a strong set of vocal chords, delivering the best way the addictive melodies. In other words, the music of AVATARIUM balances between the traditional BLACK SABBATH-inspired Doom Metal with the 70s aesthetics shining through the vocals and the keyboard melodies. It’s amazing how those two rather different music-colors blend into each other, especially during the transition from the vocals and the clean guitar sounds to the “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath”-esque rhythm section that sets the stage for the killer solo. This is amazing and obviously inspired music because even though the music steps on solid Doom Metal foundations, has new elements that go beyond CANDLEMASS or even KRUX. The poetic almost abstract lyrics put the last brush-stroke on the AVATARIUM canvas that will change form one more time during the song’s powerful ending, and please, pay additional attention to the keyboard action at the background. As “Pandoras Egg” opens, being spearheaded by Jennie-Ann’s amazing reading and followed by the guitar distortion, I reached the conclusion that having a female singer was the smartest move, because otherwise the comparison with CANDLEMASS singers (you know who) would be inevitable. This is different but not that different to make the CANDLEMASS fans feel uncomfortable. But no matter your singer preference, AVATARIUM sounds special and, accordingly to my understanding, have a unique character.

“Bird Of Prey” meets all the Doom Metal requirements with melancholic vocal melodies, guitar fills and on top of everything a ton heavy rhythm section shining through the low-tuned guitars and the pounding drums. It would be a shame to leave out of the equation the keyboards that work some '70s magic in the background and not to comment the slightly distorted guitar solo. Even though I have been spinning the entire album in repeat mode, I have to admit that “Lady In The Lamp” has earned a special place in my heart. Once again, the vocal melodies are amazing (the poetic lyrics help very much) but what really stands out here is the lead guitar action; the solo has an almost Ritchie Blackmore touch enhancing the song’s emotional atmosphere while I love the way the bass guitar steps into the spotlight somewhere in the middle, opening the road for the heaviest ending.

I am extremely happy that Lief did not let me down. AVATARIUM have created an awesome album based on high skilled musicianship and on a singer with mesmerizing vocals. It’s amazing that the music is still Doom but has more than the first listening sessions reveal, so let it sink and I am sure you will fall in love with it.





01. Moonhorse
02. Pandora's Egg
03. Avatarium
04. Boneflower
05. Bird Of Prey
06. Tides Of Telepathy
07. Lady In The Lamp


Jennie-Ann Smith - Vocals
Marcus Jidell - Guitars
Leif Edling - Bass
Lars Sköld - Drums
Carl Westholm - Keyboard