Avatarium – Hurricanes and Halos
May 26th, 2017 (Sweden); Nuclear Blast Records
LP (45 min.)
Lars Sköld – Drums
Marcus Jidell – Guitars, Vocals (backing)
Carl Westholm – Keyboards
Jennie-Ann Smith – Vocals
Mats Rydström – Bass
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
After listening to this album once I had already written quite a long review in which I described how disappointed I was by it. Well, I listened to it again. And I realized that it actually is an album that at least for me grows with each listen. I’m still not fully satisfied with the album and think it’s the band’s weakest record so far, but I definitely can’t say that it is a bad album.
The songwriting and some stylistic decisions seem a bit “off” to me sometimes (e. g. the incorporation of child vocals on “Medusa Child”, which might sound like a good idea but doesn’t work very well, in my opinion), but these flaws are more or less evened out by great riffs, cool solos and of course fantastic vocals. Also, the title track! Such a beautiful instrumental piece…
Stylistically, Avatarium have moved even further away from their original sound than they did with their second album. Gone is the dark and heavy Doom Metal of the self titled debut album. Instead, Avatarium play faster, more psychedelic, “brighter” sounding 70s-ish Blues Rock/Heavy Metal on “Hurricanes and Halos”, sometimes reminiscent of Led Zeppelin, sometimes Sabbathy and sometimes just like something new and fresh. I am not completely in favor of this stylistic change because I LOVE the style of their debut album, but that’s just a matter of taste.
If you like Blues/Doom/Psychedelic Rock or old school Heavy Metal, you should definitely give this a spin.
A few words about the artwork:
While the artwork in and of itself isn’t all that special, it’s interesting to see the stylistic change of the band’s music reflected in their artwork. The cover of the debut album and this one are similarly designed but while the cover of their debut is all grey and drab, “Hurricanes and Halos” is more colorful and playful. I like the cover art of the debut better. The same thing can be said about the music.
Listen to the album on Spotify.
Visit the band’s official website.