Avatar weren’t a band that were on my radar up until the release of their new album, Avatar Country early this year. Other then a brief viewing at Bloodstock 2014, our paths just never crossed. Absurd really, considering how both live and on record they have now proven to be an incredible metal act.
The concept album, Avatar Country was released on January 12th 2018 and blew me away. A thrilling and fun record, my own words from the review summed it up:
“Avatar have started 2018 off strongly, delivering a hard-hitting & heavy release that is filled with epic metal melody. This is going to be a huge year for them so make sure you’re on board & take a trip to Avatar Country!”
Going back to it, in anticipation of seeing them live as main support to Halestorm, it stills holds up. One of the best releases of 2018 without a shadow of a doubt. You can read the full review here.
This UK tour is an interesting one of the Swedish metallers. Most wouldn’t put them with the rock and roll act Halestorm but it’s a golden opportunity for the band to make many new fans. This London date at Brixton’s O2 Academy was sold out before Avatar were announced as support. That means the band are playing to Halestorm supporters, a golden opportunity to impress and make many new fans along the way.
Do they manage it? Yes, ten times over, yes. I am one of them. Avatar absolutely smashed it in just 50 minutes and everyone in the packed-out venue seemed to agree.
It’s not just the music that they play, a mix of old and new but the way in which they perform on stage. Tearing your eyes away from the demonic figure that is Johannes Eckerström is near impossible. The singer is entrancing in the way he moves, in the way he delivers his vocals, in the way he holds the crowd in the grip of his hand with such ease.
Quite simply one of the most enigmatic front-men I’ve ever seen.
While the rest of the band aren’t quite as energetic as he is (how could they be!?) they are still a sight to behold with a level of flair that shows they’re old-hands at this (Avatar Country is their seventh album after all).
Avatar may not be headlining but you wouldn’t know it. Eight tracks with a little bit of silly banter in between. Avatar are super-tight and Brixton’s sound holds up well allowing the nuances of the music to shine through. The highlights of the set are the bluesy/country rock tune The King Welcomes You to Avatar Country and Smells Like a Freakshow. The latter is a defining track of the wacky yet affable band.
I was blown away and Avatar have guaranteed my attendance next time they come back to the UK. It’s never to late to get on-board with the Freakshow too. It’s a well-ridden ride but everyone keeps coming back for another go!
You can listen to our interview with Johannes Eckerström a few hours below this show below.
Avatar at The O2 Academy, Brixton, London (28/09/18)