Avatar - 'Avatar Country'

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Avatar - 'Avatar Country'

A supremely intelligent album with a schizophrenic personality.

There are many people around nowadays who have never really come across a true concept album – they were all the rage in the seventies. The concept (excuse the pun) is simple, you write a whole album around one theme or story; books were often favourite themes. A concept album requires commitment on the part of the listener, and in this single song download age, they've become a rare thing. Avatar are one of the exceptions as the concept genre suits their artistic temperament. It gives them a skeleton on which to hang their theatrical videos, making something epic and interesting. This latest offering is about a King of Avatar Country.

Avatar are consummate musicians with decidedly Operatic leanings; having said that, you'd be forgiven for thinking they were musical theatre on listening to the intro track 'Glory To Our King', but you are soon set straight as you get the full force of the band on 'Legend Of The King'. There is some intricate guitar work, hints of piano and Johannes Michael Gustaf Eckerström's rangy voice. 'The King Welcomes You To Avatar Country' has a bluesy quality, and it sounds like they borrowed Brian Johnson to scream over the top. This is probably my favourite track on the album.



There is so much going on that you hear more every time you listen to it, and there are about three different melodies, which should sound a mess, but doesn't, it keeps you on your toes. Then there's 'The King Speaks' which is a surreal spoken commentary with no music at all. 'A Statue Of The King' has a split personality; it's like listening to a song on one radio station with the track on another cutting in. 'Silent Songs Of The King Pt. 1: Winter Comes When The King Dreams Of Snow' is just that, quiet fairy-like music and barely audible, whereas 'Silent Songs Pt. 2: The King's Palace' gives you a good shake, just in case you'd lulled into slumber. It is majestic and epic.

'Avatar Country' is not for the faint hearted. It's a supremely intelligent album with a schizophrenic personality. It's like an unpredictable friend on a night out, when you have no idea what they're going to do next. This gives it an edge. This is not an album of sound bites, you need to sit down and immerse yourself to fully enjoy the nuance.

Helen Bradley Owers

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