After discovering the band Avatar from Göteborg, Sweden about six months ago, and thoroughly enjoying their catalog of music I had kept my eye out for when they had a show local to my area. My first taste of the band was the title track video for their most recent CD in 2014 “Hail the Apocalypse” and instantly I was drawn into not only the crushingly heavy and groovy music, but also their look and antics reminded me of dark and twisted vaudeville carnival characters. Although the likes of HELLYEAH and P.O.D. were headlining the seven band event, Avatar played third, which meant not that long of a set time, yet they were the band I went specifically to see. Promotional flyers for the show described Avatar as ‘terrifying Swedish death metal’, while the band’s own Facebook bio describes themselves as ‘A dark, twisted circus sideshow that’s built around bombastically grooving melodic death n’ roll and mesmerizing merriment’ This was a show I was not going to miss!
From the moment the roadies started setting up the drum kit and as set time got closer I was sensing the excitement in the crowd. As soon as the guys in the band walked onto the stage they immediately launched into “Hail the Apocalypse”, horns were raised and heads started banging! Singer Johannes Eckerström fascinated the crowd with theatricality in his movements and his expressions as he sang. A couple of songs into the set I heard someone close to me say to their friend exactly what I was thinking about the lead singer, “this would be an interesting dude to hang out with”. Every member of the band was equally captivating in their stage presence, presenting the crowd that freak like side show showmanship while crushing our ear drums with seven songs of tasty heavy metal. As they finished their last song everyone wanted more, the band and the crowd, but time wouldn’t permit. Once this band establishes more of a foothold here in the US I look forward to them being the headliner so their fans can enjoy a longer set of visually stimulating bone crunching metal.
They played outdoors during the day which took away some of the inferred terror that accompanies this band if one were to see them at night or at an indoor venue. If you’ve never heard this band, I highly recommend giving them a listen, this is the song that got me hooked on them. They have that unique sound where that one song made me want to hear more of their music and after watching a few of their videos I knew I wanted to see this metal freak show. This is certainly a band to check out if you get the chance, they are highly entertaining with their stage presence and I think their music kicks-ass. \m/
Johannes Eckerström – vocals
Jonas Jarlsby – guitars
Tim Öhrström – guitars
Henrik Sandelin – bass
John Alfredsson – drums