Rating:
8.2
Avatarium - Avatarium
1 November 2013


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


Clearly Avatarium understand the meaning of "catchy doom."

Charmingly bluesy and loaded with more doomed hooks than Captain Ahab's whaling vessel, Leif Edling has put his expertise into the new project of Avatarium, which is quick to catch the ear with the strength of his song writing. Traditional doom fans with an appreciation for folky feels would be wise to heed the call of this stunning debut. I know I am, as the voice of Jennie-Ann Smith has an unquestionably powerful tenure within these doom tunes.

Whilst being expressed with much clarity given the excellent quality of recording, every guitar note and bass line hums with a palpable reverb which gives the tunes a very full sound. The riffs really do flourish in your ears upon repeated listens and are quite impressionable with their convincingly heavy weight backed by the beat of Tiamat drummer Lars Sköld's kit. The guitarist Marcus Jidell successfully does his utmost to give the dense doom sections the psychedelic lacing which establishes the connection to the psych rock feel that seems to be prevalent beneath the weight of the traditional doom. Also aiding in this aspect are the keyboards, which are so carefully placed within the mix so as to be unobtrusive; never forming a distraction and diverting the sequence of melody or riff, but present a psychedelic backdrop which only draws the listener further and further into its lush texture. In the midsection of the rock inflected "Boneflower" or toward the end of "Bird Of Prey" we find exceptions to this, where the keys swoop down in front of the mix to latch the listener, before piano and vocals take us away.

This is an album in which I can't find a single slip-up in terms of consistency. From the mammoth yet bewilderingly graceful opener "Moonhorse" right through to the soothing and subtly trippy closer "Lady In The Lamp," there's never a noticeable decline in how catchy the album is. There's always a hook at play to keep listeners attentive and from start to finish it is exceptionally well written with the title track finding an effective position at the album's heart.

You'd think that with the immensity of the riffs bearing down on the less heavy sections in the music that it is they which must be obeyed, but no. For what would otherwise be a well written exercise in a traditional sound it is the vocal work which commands, which sets this piece apart. The lyrics are equally as catchy as the guitar work and dense rhythms here because they are delivered by a voice of charisma. Interestingly Dio-esque in style there is power in Jennie-Ann's voice that has been developed by a life outside the metal field (in jazz and blues I believe). These days it's not an unusual feature in itself to have feminine vocals in this kind of doom mixed with heavy and folksy psychedelic rock, the likes of Blood Ceremony and Jex Thoth playing to a similar concept.

The crucial difference we find here is the clearly more doom oriented sound, and no wonder, with the identifiable style and expected force of Candlemass' song writer wielding the pen. As a debut this album doesn't exhibit so much a "new sound to be reckoned with" as much as an "old sound with electric reinvigoration." Absolutely not to be missed for traditional doom and heavy psych fans alike.

Performance: 9
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 7
Production: 9


Band profile: Avatarium
Album: Avatarium


 



Written on 10.01.2014 by
R'Vannith
R'Vannith enjoys music, he's hoping you do too.
More reviews by R'Vannith ››



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R Lewis - 10.01.2014 at 10:36  
I'm not into doom, but rape me if this review isn't wonderfully written.
Ivor - 10.01.2014 at 11:56  
I've been in love with this album ever since I heard "Moonhorse." Beautiful album and a captivating vocal performance.

I.
Marcel Hubregtse - 10.01.2014 at 12:27  
Actually more Krux than Candlemass style this due to Westholm's keyboards, for those wondering if it sounds like Candlemass musically

'Lady In The Lamp' is a pure and unadultered homage to Rainbow. What a song to close the album with.
BloodTears - 10.01.2014 at 12:31  
I love this album so much. It's so well made and that vocal performance is just unique. And it was totally unexpected too, at least for me.

I also like the lyrics a lot by the way.
Hex_Omega - 10.01.2014 at 13:40  
2013 was a great year for Doom Metal.
Marcel Hubregtse - 10.01.2014 at 14:03  
Written by Hex_Omega on 10.01.2014 at 13:40

2013 was a great year for Doom Metal.



I found it to be quite a mediocre doom year both concerning extreme doom and non-extreme doom/
!J.O.O.E.! - 10.01.2014 at 14:12  
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 10.01.2014 at 14:03

I found it to be quite a mediocre doom year both concerning extreme doom and non-extreme doom/

Especially compared to the year before which was dominated by great extreme doom.
Hex_Omega - 10.01.2014 at 14:12  
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 10.01.2014 at 14:03

Written by Hex_Omega on 10.01.2014 at 13:40

2013 was a great year for Doom Metal.



I found it to be quite a mediocre doom year both concerning extreme doom and non-extreme doom/


Stomach Earth (probably my favourite)
Avatarium
As Autumn Calls (Katatonia-like Doom)
Onirophagus (classic Death Doom, awesome production)
Mistguide (minimalistic, atmospheric Doom)
Chalice Of Doom
Hamferð
Seidr
Marcel Hubregtse - 10.01.2014 at 14:18  
Written by !J.O.O.E.! on 10.01.2014 at 14:12

Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 10.01.2014 at 14:03

I found it to be quite a mediocre doom year both concerning extreme doom and non-extreme doom/

Especially compared to the year before which was dominated by great extreme doom.



Last year was infinitely better as was the year before.

2013 was clearly the year of death metal.
!J.O.O.E.! - 10.01.2014 at 14:20  
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 10.01.2014 at 14:18

Last year was infinitely better as was the year before.

2013 was clearly the year of death metal.

Undoubtedly
Hex_Omega - 10.01.2014 at 16:08  
Written by !J.O.O.E.! on 10.01.2014 at 14:20

2013 was clearly the year of death metal.

Not a big fan of Death Metal so I can't say much about it.
Draugen - 10.01.2014 at 16:09  
One of my favorite albums of last year. The songwriting and vocals are what impressed me the most and I can't wait to see them live in a couple of months.
Apothecary - 10.01.2014 at 19:02  
Yeah, it's pretty damn fantastic. Can't wait to see them at Roadburn
Erik M. - 11.01.2014 at 23:57  
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 10.01.2014 at 12:27

Actually more Krux than Candlemass style this due to Westholm's keyboards, for those wondering if it sounds like Candlemass musically

'Lady In The Lamp' is a pure and unadultered homage to Rainbow. What a song to close the album with.


Honestly I found the Candlemass comparison strange immediately when I heard it. Not saying there aren't any similarities but this is pretty different I'd say. Even though I don't know Krux very well, I'd say you're right in saying it resembles Krux more.

Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 10.01.2014 at 14:03

I found it to be quite a mediocre doom year both concerning extreme doom and non-extreme doom/


Again I agree. I haven't heard a ton of new releases and even though I can't complain I won't say doom metal is the "best" genre of 2013. But like Hex_Omega, I'm not a fan of death metal either, so can't comment on that.
IronAngel - 12.01.2014 at 01:06  
Written by Hex_Omega on 10.01.2014 at 14:12

Stomach Earth (probably my favourite)
Avatarium
As Autumn Calls (Katatonia-like Doom)
Onirophagus (classic Death Doom, awesome production)
Mistguide (minimalistic, atmospheric Doom)
Chalice Of Doom
Hamferð
Seidr


You picked pretty unusual candidates. Props for that! Stomach Earth was indeed one of the coolest extreme doom albums of the year, very straightforward in approach but it managed to evoke a suffocating gloom. I also think Hamferð deserves more attention. The album starts out incredibly strong, but it slumps a bit in the middle. I hate it when an album opens with the best song, because it leaves nothing to look forward to - and that's exactly the case there. I don't know the rest on your list, I'll try to check them out.

For me, Subrosa, Procession, Obscure Sphinx, Mourning Beloveth, Atlantean Kodex, Magic Circle, Stomach Earth, Avatarium and Dream Death make the top. I think Avatarium are a little overhyped, though. The riffs are good, the production is nice, and I have no complaints about the vocals as such, but the songs just aren't very memorable. In a better doom year, I may have given it 3/5 instead of the 3,5/5 it ended up with, now.

But I must agree 2012 was a lot better year for doom. Taking just a quick look at my list, Faal, Monolithe (with their EP, a lot better than the LPs), Profetus, Pallbearer, Saturnus, The 11th Hour, Undersmile, Earthen Grave, Anhedonist, Hooded Menace, Derketa, Lurk, Inverloch, Indesinence, Evoken, Worship...
R'Vannith - 12.01.2014 at 03:39  
Written by Erik M. on 11.01.2014 at 23:57

Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 10.01.2014 at 12:27

Actually more Krux than Candlemass style this due to Westholm's keyboards, for those wondering if it sounds like Candlemass musically


Honestly I found the Candlemass comparison strange immediately when I heard it. Not saying there aren't any similarities but this is pretty different I'd say. Even though I don't know Krux very well, I'd say you're right in saying it resembles Krux more.


It's interesting that you two find these three sounds so disparate, to my ears it's easy to correlate the three sounds, they're all written by the same man after all, though he is rather adept at making things distinct with the addition of elements unique to each respective band, of course.
R'Vannith - 12.01.2014 at 03:44  
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 10.01.2014 at 12:27

'Lady In The Lamp' is a pure and unadultered homage to Rainbow. What a song to close the album with.


I must say, this an accurate observation to me, it does indeed remind me of tunes like "The Temple Of The King", to an extent.
R'Vannith - 12.01.2014 at 03:51  
Written by IronAngel on 12.01.2014 at 01:06

I think Avatarium are a little overhyped, though. The riffs are good, the production is nice, and I have no complaints about the vocals as such, but the songs just aren't very memorable. In a better doom year, I may have given it 3/5 instead of the 3,5/5 it ended up with, now.


In terms of it being hyped, I don't think it received the attention expected of it bearing such a significant name as Edling with it. It wasn't all "hush-hush" or underground or anything but it could have received more publicity than it did at the time of release, and leading up to its release. That's my understanding of it anyway, sitting on the other side of the world, I rely on the net to see what's up in terms of metal music.

In terms of it being hyped by those who did find it, listen to it and comment on it, yours is a fair observation, I'd say the reaction has been positive to very positive, which seems understandable to me personally.
Merchant of Doom - 12.01.2014 at 13:41  
Pop-doom...
Silent Jay - 14.01.2014 at 19:10  
I've only recently began giving attention to the more 'epic' side of Doom Metal but the reason I have is because of this album. I really dig it. Great heavy doomy riffs, beautiful passages, captivating vocals and well placed Blackmore-esq solos. My inner 70's Rock-Junkie approves!
SilentScream - 15.01.2014 at 18:37  
I have to stop reading the reviews here. They always end up hurting my wallet.
SilentScream - 15.01.2014 at 18:40  
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 10.01.2014 at 12:27

'Lady In The Lamp' is a pure and unadultered homage to Rainbow. What a song to close the album with.

Not to mention that Moonhorse is definitely reminiscent of Rainbow's ''Stargazer''.
Daniell - 17.01.2014 at 09:57  
Written by SilentScream on 15.01.2014 at 18:40

Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 10.01.2014 at 12:27

'Lady In The Lamp' is a pure and unadultered homage to Rainbow. What a song to close the album with.

Not to mention that Moonhorse is definitely reminiscent of Rainbow's ''Stargazer''.


Not to mention that the riff that comes somewhere in the middle of "Moonhorse" is very reminiscent of Black Sabbath's "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath".
theembryo - 21.01.2014 at 01:36  
Written by SilentScream on 15.01.2014 at 18:37

I have to stop reading the reviews here. They always end him hurting my wallet.




That's fucking hilarious, for being so true!!

I find the release to be one of the absolute favourites of 2013 Doom...... Profound thanks to R'Vannith for another brilliant addition!

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