Beauty and darkness, heavy guitars and fragile ballads, vintage blues rock and modern doom – the sound of Stockholm’s AVATARIUM is so unique that the band already succeeded in putting the world under their mystical spell with their very first album. The Swedes take you by the hand and lead you down into their mesmerising and gloomy world full of absurd poetry and bittersweet melancholy with a raw sixties flair.
It all began in the winter of 2012 when Candlemass founder, bass player and songsmith Leif Edling needed help to demo a couple of songs he was working on, and guitarist Marcus Jidell (Soen, ex-Evergrey, ex-Royal Hunt) offered to help. Weeks turned into months and a few songs became the eponymous full length album that was then released into the world in late 2013.
This marked the international debut of singer Jennie-Ann Smith – whom Leif has dubbed ”a female Ronnie James Dio” – and whose voice is perfect for AVATARIUM… deep, bluesy… and with a special timbre that will make your neck hairs stand on end. Two of Leif’s good friends complete the line-up: skinbeater extraordinaire Lars Sköld (Tiamat) on drums and Carl Westholm (Krux, Jupiter Society, Carp Tree) on a wide variety of keyboards and theremin wizardry.
That AVATARIUM had plenty of collective experience was evident as soon as the band started appearing on stages around Europe. The band’s very first show outside of Sweden took place at the prestigious Roadburn Festival in The Netherlands in April 2014, where three tracks were recorded for the ”All I Want” EP that was released in the fall. The new song ”Deep Well”, as well as the title track, came out of a desire to break new musical ground and the EP also featured psychedelic percussionist Michael Blair (who has worked with Tom Waits and Lou Reed), while Jennie-Ann’s singing reached yet another level.
The band has since continued to play many major festivals, such as Copenhell, Sweden Rock Festival, Summer Breeze and Rock Hard Festival, and toured Europe with bands such as Amorphis, before entering the studio to record their second album: the critically acclaimed ”The Girl With The Raven Mask”, which was released worldwide in October 2015.
On this, more collaborative effort, the band’s trademark sound was expanded upon, with both a few faster, as well as some folkier and jazzier, numbers – while not sacrificing any of the heavy doom-laden riffs. The band had just played their first show in Moscow, Russia and, following the release, AVATARIUM embarked on a three week headline tour of Europe. The album ended up at numerous ”best of 2015” charts, topped the soundchecks of the most prestigious European magazines and was nominated for the independent music prize Manifest in Sweden. In September 2016, they even received the “Up And Coming”- award of Germany’s leading music magazine Metal Hammer and only a few months later, the band entered the studio again to record their third full-length album.
With this release, founder and bassist Leif Edling officially decided to step back from his duties as a live member of the band, but continues his influence as mentor and creative songwriting force of AVATARIUM, while Mats Rydström joined the band as their new bass player.
In May 2017, the band releases “Hurricanes And Halos”, the outstanding successor to the critically-acclaimed “The Girl With The Raven Mask”. Edling still wrote six of the eight new tracks, however, this time Jennie-Ann and Marcus were also strongly involved in the songwriting process, and with their new organ master Rickard Nilsson on board, the band is now ready to cross the frontiers of Europe.
Continuing their unique path of endless progression, “Hurricanes And Halos” opens a new chapter in the band’s history and in their love for an organic, raw sound, catchy melodies and haunting doom, AVATARIUM found their home. Rough and heavy guitars embrace a bluesy voice and with pain and grace the band knits a unique sound leading you right into another world.
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