This fourth album by Scandinavian metallers Avatar has been knocking around for a while on the mainland and across the pond in America. ‘Black Waltz’ is finally getting its proper release over here now, and about time too!
The PR blurb states that Avatar are bringing heavy music to the masses, like bands such as System of a Down and In Flames, and have one of the most played rock songs on American Rock Radio at the moment. Don’t let the hype put you off though. The band are pretty heavy in a melodic and simple Death Metal sort of way…for the most part.
The opening chug-along riff of ‘Let Us Die’ will soon dispel any thoughts that these guys are aiming directly for the mainstream. In reality they tread the line between the mainstream and underground nicely. The simplistic bouncy riffs and soaring solos certainly make the album accessible whilst Eckstrom’s vocals keep the Death Metal side of the bargain.
It’s a winning formula. ‘Black Waltz’ is brimming with hook filled bouncy riffs that Rammstein have used so effectively over the years. The band possess the knack for writing exciting riffs; the type that get you out of your seat in a rock club to jump around for five minutes. Coupled with this, there is the melodic and atmospheric side to songs. These passages ensure the album retains credentials as Death Metal album and not just a throw-away party CD.
‘Torn Apart’ combines orchestral phases with a storming Rob Zombie riff, whilst the more technical ‘Ready for the Ride’ speeds things up with a devastating in your face attitude. The aforementioned Rock Radio hit changes things round a bit. ‘Let it Burn’ is more Rockabilly than Death with twiddly guitars and clean singing, but just as you start to reach for the skip button, a mountain of metallic guitars erupt and the death vocals come back for the chorus. Well saved…
Fans of old school Death Metal are probably going to give this a miss due to its commercial leanings. Give ‘Black Waltz’ a try though and there’s plenty to get excited about. There are some massive riffs and gorgeous guitar wizardry on this album and enough venomous death screams to scare away the Nickleback crowd!
Black Waltz is out 19th November