Avatar is a heavy metal band formed in Gothenburg, Sweden. Formed in 2001, the band has released seven studio albums, the most recent being Avatar Country in 2018. The band has had some success on US rock radio as well, notably with their song “New Land”, which peaked at number 20 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Songs chart in May 2017.
Formation and early releases (2001−2010)
The band was formed in 2001 by drummer John Alfredsson and guitarist Jonas Jarlsby, who at the time were in separate bands. After several lineup changes, the band released two 4 song EP demos in 2004: Personal Observations released on January 18, 2004 and 4 Reasons to Die on November 19, 2004. Avatar’s first studio album, Thoughts Of No Tomorrow was released on January 25, 2006 and peaked at #47 on the Sweden Albums Top 60. Several European tours as a supporting act for Impaled Nazarene, Evergrey, and In Flames.
Their second album, Schlacht, was released in October 24, 2007, reaching spot 27 on the Swedish album chart. Björn Gelotte from In Flames contributed a guitar solo on the track Letters From Neverend. The subsequent set of tours saw them perform at the 2008 Sweden Rock Festival as well as shows in support of Obituary (January – February 2008), and Hardcore Superstar (October – November 2009). The band’s third album, the self-titled Avatar, was released in Sweden in November 2009 reaching the 36th position on the national album chart. In January 2010 the music video for the song Queen of Blades was released on the band’s website. Around that time, the band signed with Sony Music for the German and Swiss release of the latest album on March 26, 2010. In April of the same year a deal was signed with the Japanese label Art Union, for a May 19 launch of the album. They then launched into an ambitious touring schedule appearing at the 2010 Storsjöyran, and also with Warrior Soul (March – April 2010), Dark Tranquillity (October – November 2010), and Helloween (December 2010 – January 2011).
Black Waltz and Hail the Apocalypse (2011−2015)
In December 2011 guitarist Simon Andersson left the band, being replaced by Tim Öhrström. On January 25, 2012 the album Black Waltz was released in Europe. It reached position 25 on the album list in Avatar’s native Sweden. The album was released in the US on February 14. Black Waltz marks the first appearance of the “Clown” face paint now worn regularly by Eckerström. To support the American release of Black Waltz, Avatar embarked on its first ever U.S. tour alongside Lacuna Coil and Sevendust in February 2013.
In August 2013, after the wife of Device and Disturbed vocalist David Draiman gave birth and Draiman opted to bow out of his tour schedule, Avatar was picked by Avenged Sevenfold to replace Device and continue to tour with them and Five Finger Death Punch. The following fall, the band spent a month in Thailand recording for a new album, planned for release in March 2014. On March 11, 2014 it was announced that Avatar’s fifth album would be titled Hail the Apocalypse and was released May 13, 2014 via eOne Music. The album’s first single, the title track, was released March 17, 2014 and was accompanied by a video. The new album is produced by Tobias Lindell and mixed by Jay Ruston. Since the release of Hail the Apocalypse, Avatar has conducted several tours of the U.S. and Europe as both a supporting and headline act, as well as performing at festivals such as Rock on the Range 2014 and the inaugural Louder Than Life. The music video for ‘Vultures Fly’ premiered on January 26, 2015 and earned distinction by being voted #1 for five weeks in a row in Loudwire’s Battle Royal video countdown, as well as their 2015 Best Rock Video. Avatar then began a U.S. tour in April 2015 consisting of headline performances, and supporting Five Finger Death Punch and Mushroomhead.
On May 6, 2015 it was announced that Avatar would be included in the lineup of Shiprocked 2016. Avatar returned to the U.S. for another headline tour in August and September 2015 with Gemini Syndrome First Decree and January/ February 2016 with September Mourning prior to returning to Sweden to complete writing on the follow up to Hail The Apocalypse. Sylvia Massy was announced as producer of that album, which was then recorded in three studios across Europe. Towards the end of 2015, it was announced Avatar would be scheduled to appear at several festivals in 2016, to include Rock on the Range and Carolina Rebellion.
Feathers & Flesh (2016−2017)
After several tours supporting 2014’s Hail the Apocalypse, Avatar entered the studio in December 2015 to begin recording a then unnamed follow-up studio album. The band split their time between three European studios — Castle Studios in Rohrsdorf, Germany, Finnvox Studios in Helsinki, Finland and Spinroad Studios in Lindome, Sweden. Acclaimed producer Sylvia Massy, noted for her work with Tool and Red Hot Chili Peppers, praised Avatar as ‘relentless’, noting singer Johannes Eckerström as having ‘wild energy and charisma’. The start of recording sessions also coincided with multiple updates via the band’s Instagram account, chronicling their time in the studio. Once recording finished, Avatar took part in Shiprocked 2016, then toured the southern United States with September Mourning and Saint Diablo. On January 30, 2016 in Dallas, Texas, Avatar performed the song For The Swarm, for the first time, the first original song since the release of their previous album.
On March 3, 2016, Avatar revealed the name of the new album, Feathers & Flesh, via their official website, and through social media. A release date of May 13, 2016 was also announced, as well as several pre-ordering merchandise bundles that would be available to order on March 17, 2016. One bundle offers a 60-page, 109-verse poem hardcover book described on the band’s Facebook as ‘a story too extensive for any booklet’. The first single, For The Swarm, was released as a reward for those pre-ordering the album on iTunes.
A music video of this single was also released. Fan reception of the new song and video were high, as evidenced in For The Swarm being voted #1 in Loudwire’s Battle Royale for the week ending March 11, 2016. On March 17th, 2016 the singles, Regret and House of Eternal Hunt were released to help kick off pre-ordering of merchandise bundles for Feathers & Flesh. A video directed by Johan Carlén was released featuring the two songs playing sequentially as the view pans around a darkened art gallery, with many paintings of birds, primarily owls, mirroring some of the artwork that the band has created for the individual songs on their album. Regret, as the opening track on the album, is described by the band as “an intense journey through epicness” and, “…by far the most different album intro we ever written.” The song introduces ‘The Owl’, the protagonist of the album as she lays dying, reflecting on her past. House of Eternal Hunt, described by the band as “the definition of metal”, starts the tale of The Owl, a “predator ruling the sky” according to Eckerström. The first ‘official’ single, The Eagle Has Landed, was released March 25, 2016. As with the previously released singles, this track was an instant gratification reward for pre-ordering Feathers & Flesh. The song introduces ‘The Eagle’, “…crashing into the world of his adversary”, according to Eckerström. No new music video was released with this track, though the band did upload the song to its official YouTube channel with the same video featured for the release of Regret and House of Eternal Hunt.
On June 12th, 2017, Avatar were awarded the Breakthrough Band Award at the Metal Hammer Golden Gods.
Avatar Country (2017−present)
On October 24, 2017, Avatar released a new single called “A Statue of the King”, along with the announcement that they will release their seventh album, Avatar Country, on January 12, 2018. It was also announced the dates of the new Avatar tour, Called “Avatar Country Tour”, which starts in January 2018 in North America and arrives in Europe in March of the same year.
On December 13 the song “The King Wants You” was released on SiriusXM Octane radio, and soon available on digital platforms, being the second single from the album Avatar Country. The official music video was released on December 19th.
On the January 12, Avatar Country was released worldwide, available both through streaming services such as Spotify, and in physical formats from music stores throughout the world.
Musical style and influences
Avatar has been described as melodic death metal, groove metal, and progressive metal. Originally a pure melodic death metal band, Avatar later began to play a different style of music, moving to a more avant-garde metal style. Avatar’s influences include In Flames, Dark Tranquillity, the Haunted, Marilyn Manson, Ministry, Strapping Young Lad, Devin Townsend, Iron Maiden, Rammstein, Beethoven, Helloween, the Beatles, Ozzy Osbourne, Thin Lizzy and Cryptopsy.
Avatar Country / 2018
1. Glory To Our King
2. Legend Of The King
3. The King Welcomes You To Avatar Country
4. King’s Harvest
5. The King Wants You
6. The King Speaks
7. A Statue Of The King
8. King After King
9. Silent Songs Of The King Pt. 1 – Winter Comes When The King Dreams Of Snow
10. Silent Songs Of The King Pt. 2 – The King’s Palace
Avatar Country is the seventh studio album by Swedish metal band Avatar, released on January 12, 2018.
The band recorded their seventh studio album throughout Summer 2017 at Spinroad Studios in Lindome, Sweden. The album was produced by Jay Ruston, noted for working with Stone Sour, Anthrax and Steel Panther.
Avatar took part in the Avatar Country World Tour 2017, touring the United States from January to February 2018, and various countries in Europe from March to April, with The Brains and freakshow attraction Hellzapoppin‘. Just one night before the album’s release, in New York City, Avatar performed six songs from the album for the first time, along with songs from their previous albums.
Avatar released a music video for the single, “A Statue of the King” on October 24, 2017, directed by longtime collaborator Johan Carlén. Another video was released on December 19, 2017 for “The King Wants You”, once again directed by Johan Carlén.
The introduction track, “Glory to Our King” is a rendition of the Swedish royal anthem “Kungssången“. Notably, every song on the track listing has the word “King” in its name.
Feathers & Flesh / 2016
2. House Of Eternal Hunt
3. The Eagle Has Landed
4. New Land
5. Tooth, Beak & Claw
6. For The Swarm
7. Fiddler’s Farewell
8. One More Hill
9. Black Waters
10. Night Never Ending
11. Pray The Sun Away
12. When The Snow Lies Red
13. Raven Wine
14. Sky Burial
15. I’ve Got Something In My Front Pocket For You
16. Det Är Alldeles Försent
Feathers & Flesh is the sixth studio album by the Swedish metal band Avatar, released on May 13, 2016. A concept album, it is the story of an owl who goes to war against the world.
After several tours supporting 2014’s Hail the Apocalypse, Avatar entered the studio in December 2015 to begin recording a then unnamed follow-up studio album. The band split their time between three European studios — Castle Studios in Rohrsdorf, Germany, Suomenlinnan Studio in Helsinki, Finland and Spinroad Studios in Lindome, Sweden. Acclaimed producer Sylvia Massy, noted for her work with Tool and Red Hot Chili Peppers, praised Avatar as ‘relentless’, noting singer Johannes Eckerström as having ‘wild energy and charisma’. The start of recording sessions also coincided with multiple updates via the band’s Instagram account, chronicling their time in the studio. Once recording finished, Avatar took part in Shiprocked 2016, then toured the southern United States with September Mourning and Saint Diablo. On January 30, 2016 in Dallas, Texas, Avatar performed the song For The Swarm, for the first time, the first original song since the release of their previous album.
The February/March 2016 issue of Revolver interviewed Eckerström, who described the concept behind the latest album.
It’s about this owl who goes to war against the world to prevent the sun from rising. It’s a fable inspired by the work of the famous French fable writer Jean de La Fontaine, so the creatures in the fable represent a side of the human psyche or different behaviors. Something good or bad happens to them depending on what they do in the story, and at the end you learn some kind of lesson.
On February 29, 2016, Avatar began posting random images on their Instagram, referencing the date ‘3.3.16’. The images turned out to be the cover art for the album when put together. Avatar further teased its fans to listen to SiriusXM’s Octane at 4 pm on March 2, 2016. This turned out to be the broadcast premier of For The Swarm. On March 3, 2016, Avatar revealed the name of the new album, Feathers & Flesh, as well as a release date of May 13, 2016 via their official website, and through social media. Several pre-ordering merchandise bundles were made available to order on March 17, 2016. One bundle offers a 60-page, 109-verse poem hardcover book described on the band’s Facebook as ‘a story too extensive for any booklet’. As an extra, the singles Regret and House of Eternal Hunt were released to coincide with pre-order availability. Tour dates across North America featuring Wilson and Sunflower Dead were also announced.
Release and promotion
Avatar released a music video for the single, “For the Swarm” on March 3, 2016. Directed by longtime collaborator Johan Carlén, it features the band on a series of cubes, rotating and floating through the air, showcasing their unique apparel. The video was voted number 1 in Loudwire’s Battle Royale for the week ending March 11, 2016.
On March 17, 2016, the singles “Regret” and “House of Eternal Hunt” were released to help kick off pre-ordering of merchandise bundles for Feathers & Flesh. A video directed by Johan Carlén was released featuring the two songs playing sequentially as the view pans around a darkened art gallery, with many paintings of birds, primarily owls, mirroring some of the artwork that the band has created for the individual songs on their album. “Regret”, as the opening track on the album, is described by the band as “an intense journey through epicness” and, “…by far the most different album intro we have ever written.” The song introduces ‘The Owl’, the protagonist of the album as she lays dying, reflecting on her past. “House of Eternal Hunt”, described by the band as “the definition of metal”, starts the tale of The Owl, a “predator ruling the sky” according to Eckerström.
The first ‘official’ single, “The Eagle Has Landed”, was released March 25, 2016. As with the previously released singles, the track was an instant gratification reward for pre-ordering Feathers & Flesh. The official music video for the track was released May 9, 2016. In the video, Avatar are shown as the makers of a miracle tonic, with Eckerström as the salesman. He sells his tonic to three unwitting victims: a farmer unable to reach the last apple at the top of a tree, a former bodybuilder sick with old age, and a young man trying to offer his heart to a young girl. The tonic proves successful, however with tragic side effects. The farmer’s arms grow to more than twice their normal length, the old man regains his strength however he is plagued with horrible sores and wounds, and the young man literally offers his heart to his beloved by ripping it out of his chest. The victims get together and ambush Eckerström. Before he meets his demise however, The Eagle appears in a flash of lightning, scaring off his would be killers. Moments later, it is revealed The Eagle was actually the other members of Avatar.
“Tooth, Beak & Claw” was released on April 15, 2016, Eckerström described the song as “…The Beach Boys reporting in from Valhalla. It’s a gang of zombie surfers riding the waves of Hades.” Introducing ‘The Eyes’, they “represent all of us at our most fierce and dangerous, ready to fight blindly and full of rage for a cause we may not even fully understand.” Eckerström used shifting vocal styles for this song, while Loudwire described the guitars as “riffing aplenty”. Those who pre-ordered Feathers & Flesh received the song for free.
A video for “Night Never Ending” was released on October 3, 2016. Directed by Johan Carlén, singer Johannes Eckerström noted the song as a “fragile message of hope and fighting spirit” while calling it a “a prelude to a tragedy”, as well as “probably the most upbeat and, dare I say, happy piece we’ve ever released.” In the video, a young girl in a blue dress is being chased through a darkened forest by three childlike beings clad in white clothing and wearing animal masks: a bear, a wolf and a raven. At one point one of them removes their mask to reveal a decayed skull like face underneath. Meanwhile, two men with a bloodhound are shown in the bright of day, attempting to track something through the same woods. During the chase, one of the beings summons a large gust of wind which temporarily slows the two trackers. Back in the dark woods, the little girl coughs up water as the three gather around her. They present her with a small toy shown at the beginning of the video, as well as a mask of her own, an owl. Back in the light, the trackers come to a creek where they find the deceased body of the girl in the blue dress floating in the water. Wading into the water, one of the men, presumably her father, cradles the lifeless body in his arms as he wails into the sky. We then see the face of Johannes Eckerström, as all four children surround him. They all slowly turn and walk off into the darkness together as the video fades to black.
Another single, New Land, was released in 2017.
Hail the Apocalypse / 2014
1. Hail The Apocalypse
2. What I Don’t Know
3. Death Of Sound
4. Vultures Fly
5. Bloody Angel
7. Tsar Bomba
8. Puppet Show
9. Get In Line
10. Something In The Way
12. Use And Abuse
Hail the Apocalypse is the fifth album released by Swedish metal band Avatar, on May 13, 2014. It is their first album to chart on the Billboard 200 at number 97, selling 3,500 copies in its first week. The album was mixed by Jay Ruston and mastered by Paul Logus.
Black Waltz / 2012
1. Let Us Die
2. Torn Apart
3. Ready For The Ride
4. In Napalm
5. Black Waltz
7. Let It Burn
8. One Touch
9. Paint Me Red
10. Smells Like A Freakshow
11. Use Your Tongue
12. Dying To See You Dead
Black Waltz is the fourth album released by Swedish metal band Avatar, on January 25, 2012. In the US, it was released on February 14, 2012.
During the making of the “Black Waltz” music video, the band asked their makeup artist to come with something to make frontman Johannes Eckerström fit in with the characters, and she responded with the “Clown” face paint, which Eckerström is also seen wearing on the album cover. Eckerström has said, “… Something clicked… seeing that face, it awakened something that really wasn’t there before; or was but was well hidden… Suddenly the music got its face.” He now regularly wears the face paint in music videos and band photo shoots, as well as during live shows.
The album reached position 25 on the album list in Avatar’s native Sweden.
Avatar / 2009
1. Queen Of Blades
2. The Great Pretender
3. Shattered Wings
5. Out Of Our Minds
6. Deeper Down
7. Revolution Of Two
10. Lullaby (Death All Over)
Avatar is the third album released by Swedish metal band Avatar, on November 20, 2009. It is the last album to feature the guitarist Simon Andersson before he left the band in December 2011.
Schlacht / 2007
3. All Which Is Black
4. 4 AM Breakdown
5. As It Is
6. All Hail The Queen
7. When Your Darkest Hour Comes
8. I Still Hate You
10. Die With me
11. The End Of Our Ride
12. Letters From Neverend
Schlacht is the second studio album by the Swedish metal band Avatar, It was released on October 29, 2007 by Gain Music.
Thoughts of No Tomorrow / 2006
1. Bound To The Wall
2. And I Bid You Farewell
3. Last One Standing
4. War Song
5. The Willy
6. My Shining Star
7. My Lie
9. The Skinner
11. Slave Hive Meltdown
Thoughts of No Tomorrow is the debut album by the Swedish metal band Avatar. It was released on September 15, 2006 by Gain Music Entertainment.
REVIEWS AND INTERVIEWS
On a cold Sunday evening Kingstar Music opened the doors of the Luxor in Cologne for a special event. The king of Avatar Country should come to Cologne! The showMarch 21, 2018 by Jule Grune
Sometimes you find good bands more by accident. In this case it was for me with Avatar. Only by researching for a festival I became aware of the Swedes andFebruary 19, 2018 by Jule Grune
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