Imagine the killer clown of your nightmares crawling through your window, only to break into an epic saga of song. Better make some strong coffee, mate.
Hailing from Gothenburg, Sweden comes Johannes Eckerström (vocals), John Alfredsson (drums), Henrik Sandelin (bass), Kungen (guitar), and Tim Öhrström (guitar) as the wicked sideshow gents of Avatar. According to a very in the know metal owl, the band is releasing a new full length album entitled, Feathers & Flesh. The eOne Music supported offering is scheduled to be out May 13, 2016 at all of your normal online and brick stores.
Track Listing For: Feathers & Flesh
- House of Eternal Hunt
- The Eagle has Landed
- New Land
- Tooth, Beak & Claw
- For The Swarm
- Fiddler’s Farewell
- One More Hill
- Black Waters
- Night Never Ending
- Pray the Sun Away
- When The Snow Lies Red
- Raven Wine
- Sky Burial
If you are a little behind on your Swedish metal titans, the band released their fourth studio album, Black Waltz, in 2012. Then, after adding fuel to the fire of their demented egos and allowing the clown to truly come out and hunger for your soul, the band came to the table with 2014’s offering of Hail the Apocalypse. This, newest effort, was recorded in Germany, Finland, and Sweden in December 2015 with producer extraordinaire Sylvia Massy of System of a Down, Tool, and Red Hot Chili Peppers fame behind the glass at the big board.
In a growing trend among bands of all genres, is the additional media that is increasingly being linked to the music to increase the fans experience with the art of their favorite groups. This is also true for Avatar this time around and some say is a first for any of the musicians in their peer group. When asked about the album Johannes declared that, “We’ve made a concept album. It’s a fable about an owl who goes to war to stop the sun from rising. It’s a tragic story of someone ultimately being set up to fail. She will learn many lessons and encounter many other creatures with ideas of their own. In the end, however, one must ask if something was learned at all.” So, within the concept of the record is the agent of the telling of the tale. And, he brings a book with him to illustrate his odyssey. This book will actually be available for purchase alongside the album.
The first blush of the insanity from the album is in the form of a music video for the track “For the Swarm,” which is above. It is explained as a song telling the story of the Owl’s, the main focus of the story, encounter with a beehive. “The Owl is very much an individualist and is trying very hard to find creatures who will fight for her,” says Johannes. “The Bees are of course having none of that as they purely exist as a collective and wouldn’t even dream of waging war for an individual cause.”
The second chapter seems will be “The Eagle Has Landed.” It presents the Eagle, the villain of the epic as he sees himself. Johannes again offers his perspective on the song. “An interesting thing about the antagonists is that they are rarely aware of that they’re the bad guys. All things considered, we are all probably awful people and the mortal enemy of someone but we take for granted that our moral compass points the right way and that our ambitions and means to achieve them are justified. This is a very important point that this story and specifically this song wants to discuss.”
We don’t want to give too much of the story away. That wouldn’t be much fun for you and we don’t want the smiling face of lunacy in our own bedroom for the sin of spoiling the fall into the ugly, dark spaces of the band’s introspective. However, we, at the southern command base of iGnite, can’t keep the glee of enjoyment from this disc solely to ourselves.
So, we’ll have to leave things this way for now. Johannes’ vocals are times dirty and gravelly and at other times playful and reminiscent of an MC at your childhood circus always seemingly to know what’s coming next without giving it away. For a man that didn’t start with English as his first language, his singing has range, is clear through out it all, and will draw you into the music before you realize it.
Kungen and Tim have proven on this album that they are a one-two combination on the guitars that provides the muscle to the hooks that latch into your mind and won’t let go. They act and play as two parts to the whole instead of two sides selfishly trying to get the most play time or juiciest riff on the album.
John with his drum play is the only thing keeping this troop of misfits in a cohesive unit without spiraling out of control into the ether. His timing, hit selection, and understanding of what the songs need from him is simply a clinic on how to bring the most out of your guys without teetering over the edge into the abyss. Henrik’s bass play is what gives many of the songs that darker, deeper vibe within the fairy tale. A good deal of the richness in the tracks would be lost without his contributions.
So, when it drops, grab a copy for yourself, especially if you count yourself a fan, or you like a good story set to music. And then you’ll become a fan and the spiral into this record will start anew, we’re sure. After you’ve given it a few spins, head over to our Facebook or Twitter page and let us know if you agree with the review or not.