It’s hard to believe that “Black Waltz” is Avatar’s fourth release. Of course as is the norm these days for me, they are another band from Sweden and the famous Gothenburg melodic death metal scene. It looks like my love affair with Sweden continues. Of course, no one can touch my favourite band, which is the mighty “Evergrey”.
I was interested to check this band out after the guys from Five Finger Death Punch mentioned in an interview that Avatar’s new album is doing the rounds while they are on tour and that it is influencing them in the riff department.
The best way to describe their music is like a circus freakshow. Even one of their songs is titled “Smells Like A Freakshow”. Like Blowsight, Avatar has just so many elements in their music.
Industrial rhythms (like Rammstein) – check
Old Time Rock N Roll boogie – check
Swedish melodic death metal scene (like In Flames) – check
Twisted evil persona’s (like Marilyn Manson) – check
Hyperactive metal (like System of A Down) – check
Modern Metal elements (like Disturbed) – check
Technical Metal elements (like Meshuggah, Sikth) – check
Melodic, arena sized choruses – check
And that is what I got from listening to Black Waltz. A bizarre, melodic, psychotic freakshow.
They started out as a traditional melodic death metal band back in 2001. Since then they have tweaked their sound up to something very unique. Vocalist Johannes Eckerström (the Clown), growls his way through verses and when the choruses come, he turns on the melody.
“Paint Me Red” is about a girl hurting inside and pictures suicide. “Smells Like A Freakshow” is about standing up for yourself and not letting people get you down because they think you are an oddball or a freak. Other favourites include “In Napalm”, “Let It Burn” and “Torn Apart.” Seriously that section from 3.43; it’s like Enya/Enigma with a gothic metal touch. If anyone claims that part doesn’t get their attention they are lying.
So I went on Spotify to see how the band rates there.
So all the above songs except “In Napalm” are in the Top 10 of songs streamed the most.
“Paint Me Red” has 126,338 streams.
“Let It Burn” is the champion at 630,427 streams.
“Torn Apart” has 259,870 streams.
“Smells Like A Freakshow” has 229,755 streams.
We are all looking for greatness. We all want to share what we love. The biggest strength of the album is how it is able to be experimental, yet feel perfectly designed.
That is how you triumph today. You need to be experimental and spontaneous, however it needs to feel cohesive. The Top 40 is all about committee writers and generic songs. When an artist comes from left field, the Top 40 is shocked to its core.
The world today has people paying to get their story spread. Anyone heard the recent viral sensation called “Batkid”. It turns out that viral sensation had a lot of help from some paid friends. Read the story yourself. It was manufactured.
There is always someone ready to take someone’s money, however what does all of it really do for an artists’ career and what does it do for an artists’ longevity. Manufactured superstars do not have a long shelf life.
Hell, even Bob Seger knew that when he wrote the words to “Old Time Rock N Roll”.
“Today’s music aint got the same soul, I love my old time rock n roll.”
Robb Flynn is doing wonders with his General Journals. It is working for him, and it is engaging his fan base. It doesn’t mean that it will work for every artist however artists need to play in order to win.
That is what Avatar encompasses for me. An eagerness to play and try out some new moves. Like all game winners, it is those moves that come from left field that end up winning the game.
So now that everybody is watching, what will Avatar do?
It comes down to the music. That is what builds careers. Today being an artist means that you need to be creating constantly, building an audience and holding it.