Avatarium - 'Avatarium'

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Avatarium - 'Avatarium'

I love it ...

DOOM! Yep you read that right. A review of a band that play music of the heavy doom variety on Rocktopia??? And to that I say why not? If the songs are good and have (even thought they are 'HEAVY') a lot of melody, plus guitars solos that remind you of Ritchie Blackmore at his best, then I think that they should get a review on this wonderful website.

Avatarium is the name of this act and they are the brainchild of Candlemass supremo Leif Edling. Mr Edling has put together a bit of a metal super group for this release, with Evergrey/Royal Hunt man Marcus Jidell on guitar, Lars Skold of Tiamat on drums and Carl Westholm also of Candlemass on keyboards, with Edling himself taking on bass duties. Edling's ace in the hole however is that instead of the male vocal roar that you would expect on this kind of release, you find instead the ethereal yet strength filled vocals of one Miss Jennie Ann-Smith. The striking difference between the Sabbath/Candlemass molten guitar riffs and her lighter vocals, works so well, that you're soon drawn into the wonderful world created by Avatarium.

'Moonhorse' is where we first hear this contrast, the pounding guitars, bass and drums blasting from the speakers are heavy enough to rattle your window panes, until Jennie Ann-Smith's wistful vocals begin and gently lull you into a false of security, asking questions of her Mother about life, art, the sea and more besides. Then the guitars crash in once again and Miss Smith shows that she has another side to her voice, one that is easily powerful enough to work alongside the dark, dramatic riffs conjured up by the rest of the band. Also on this and many of the other songs here courtesy of Mr Jidell you'll discover a guitar solo that Ritchie Blackmore would be proud of (give this album a listen and discover for yourself what I mean.)

Other standout moments for me are the caustic title track 'Avatarium', the almost happy 'Boneflower' and the Opeth (circa 'Still Life') like 'Bird Of Prey'. My favourite track however is the beautifully constructed 'Lady In The Lamp', where we find more Rainbowesque guitar work, (borrowed?) Sabbath riffs and killer vocals that set the whole song on fire.

Note that this album is definitely NOT one for those of a gentle disposition I must stress, but it is a CD that is full of great performances and songs that can compete with any band that plays this kind of rock with ease. I love it...

Ian Johnson

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