Avatarium – “Avatarium” Album Review
Genre: Doom Metal/Classic Rock
Label: Nuclear Blast
Candlemass recent retirement from producing studio material has not meant bassist and chief songwriter Leif Edling resting on his laurels, content to merely tour. Avatarium is a project inspired by the heretical idolatry of the pre-Christianized cults and late medieval societies throughout Europe so the familiar occultist themes remain from Leif’s prior work. Evergrey/ Royal Hunt axeman Marcus Jidell and Tiamat drummer Lars Sköld are worthy additions to this line up too but no one is more influential than vocalist Jennie-Ann Smith whose astounding vocals evoke the likes of Joni Mitchell and bringing a strong backbone of blues and jazz to the songs.
“Moonhorse” was originally written for Opeth frontman Mikel Åkerfeldt yet Smith’s ethereal contribution is so enchanting you cannot image it sung by anyone else. “Tides Of Telepathy” has a slow menacing ostinatos over which Jennie-Ann shows she can be both menacing and bombastic where required. Capable of belting out some soaring highs in-between delicate folksy emissions this blues chanteuse makes quite the impression here.
Keyboard maestro Carl Westholm also makes a great contribution, adding mellatron and Theremin to this lavish and engrossing package. Edling may be the main songwriter but this is truly a group effort. Blending the power of classic acts like Rainbow mixed with delicate serenades inspired by 60s folk artists “Avatarium” is an album which should be experienced as a whole, for it is a highly compelling journey from beginning to end.