Release: May 12, 2014
Label: eOne Records/ Gain Music
By DJ Insanity
To be from a region of the world such as Scandinavia, it is an impressive feat to make such an impact for the members of Avatar. For me, it would seem intimidating to come from a country that produces some of the best metal acts in the worldm like Amon Amarth, Meshuggah, Opeth, In Flames and many more. Avatar doesn’t disappoint or fall short of the bar that has been set so high. Collectively the band has creates a unique sound, image and brand that produces passionate and loyal fans.
I found Hail The Apocalypse to be vocally driven. Johannes Michael Gustaf Eckerstrom (vocals) has an impressive array of both tone and range. Listening to the vocals, I heard a little bit of everything in his voice. His screams are similar to those of Randy Blythe (Lamb of God), Kyle Gunther (Battlecross) and Anders Friden (In Flames). The clean tones gave me the vibe of the later works of Atreyu and are precisely laid through-out the album. The accompaniment from the band complimented the vocals to perfection, leading the listener through a melodic yet chaotic joy ride through a carnival side show.
The title track of the record foreshadows the diverse and unique experience that is in store for the listener. I was almost immediately drawn to the crunch and deep bassy groove of the music. The intro leads into the unmistakable sounds emitted by Eckerstrom. This is by far my favorite track on the album and the chorus has been stuck in my head for days.
“Bloody Angel”, opens with a beautiful yet bone-chillingly wicked intro. The intensity is quickly charged to ten. This song best showcases the vocal prowess of Eckerstrom and the changes in tempo. The mood of the song make this worthy of keeping on repeat. At this point in the the listener should be fully immersed in the story and should appreciate the uniqueness that each song establishes. “Puppet Show”, showcases the bands circus sideshow vibe. It was quite an interesting experience for me. I’m still on the fence about this song, but it stays true to the ‘Stand out from the crowd’ theme that the band is aiming for. This one should grow on listeners, even though at first listen it may not be pleasing to you.
Hail The Apocalypse was unlike many albums I’ve heard in the past few years. It’s refreshing to see a band detour off of what is the standard and create their own unique brand. Avatar has impressed me with their unique qualities, the amazing range of sounds and styles created in every song. I could listen to this album many times over and get a different listening experience every time. That is a quality that is lost on many modern day bands. I’m not sure what genre I would classify them as, but they break the mold and give me something I’ve never heard before.
01. Hail The Apocalypse
02. What I Don’t Know
03. Death Of Sound
04. Vultures Fly
05. Bloody Angel
07. Tsar Bomba
08. Puppet Show
09. Get In Line
10. Something In the Way