Avatarium - Hurricanes And Halos

Avatarium - Hurricanes And Halos

(CD/LP, Nuclear Blast, 2017)

A Leif Edling creation without the Doom-father himself? What would be like? Ok, if I got the information right, he was actually part of the record, in the background. So, it's virtually the same thing it always have been with AVATARIUM, with this “Hurricanes And Halos” record. We're still talking about the mellow and wonderfully gloomy Rock / Doom AVATARIUM trademarked a few years ago.

But, if I was to point something out which now differs compared to the earlier releases, it's the prominent '70s vibe going through the whole record. The groove is different and if that is as simple as entering Mats Rydström on the bass or something more I don't know. What I do know is that the URIAH HEEP-esque drive in “Into The Fire / Into The Storm” sounds fabulous. “The Starless Sleep” follows in the same pattern and the chorus-line is one of the most striking released during 2017. I guess everyone has been in that situation and easily can identify with: "So what happens when you close your eyes? Will the breeze inside your head become a storm?" line. You know, when you really should sleep but start thinking of this and that and find yourself wide awake until the break of dawn. When there's hooks like that in a song and ones that sticks like glue, it all becomes a masterpiece.

Another fantastic moment is the massive “Medusa Child” which basically is two songs in one, the first very dark and the heavy section. The effect on the vocals in the chorus works perfectly and makes Jennie-Ann Smith to sound like a child. And then, the way the chorus-line spills over to the second very soft section; it sounds creepy and dramatic at the same time, very theatrical. The same can be said about the build-up to the end of the song. Musically it's the same figure but it becomes thicker and heavier. The whole song works as an illustration of its own and again, it sounds absolutely awesome.  Another one that draws the reference towards the '70s is “When Breath Turns To Air”; it's fantastic that a song as soft and mellow as this is, with the very fluffy sound still can be thrilling and intense you know the musicianship is spot on.

So, the line-up change has definitely impacted the overall vibe of the band, even if the style is still the same. I do like everything AVATARIUM have put out but I think this new one is in general stronger than 2015's “The Girl With The Raven Mask”, even though still, it doesn't beat the self-titled debut.





01. Into The Fire / Into The Storm
02. The Starless Sleep
03. Road To Jerusalem
04. Medusa Child
05. The Sky At The Bottom Of The Sea
06. When Breath Turns To Air
07. A Kiss (From The End Of The World)
08. Hurricanes And Halos


Jennie-Ann Smith - Vocals
Marcus Jidell - Guitar
Mats Rydström - Bass
Rickard Nilsson - Organ
Lars Sköld - Drums