Saturday, August 2, 2014

Avatarium: Another vision of Doom by Leif Edling

That's a record I've been wanting to listen to for a while now. It was actually issued almost 1 year ago, and for some reason I just got a hold of the 2LP version a few days ago. That's a tremendous 180g-couple of vinyls packed in a beautiful silver gatefold. 

The reason I've been attracted to that record is quite simple: Avatarium is Leif Edling's new band. You know, the guy from Candlemass. So basically, if you like doom (and I like my Doom), you usually follow whatever this guy is up to. Besides that cult band he founded, he's also involved in Krux, another awesome doom band with Mats Leven on vocals. 

We all know that every record Leif Edling's been involved with usually deals with Doom Metal. And considering that Krux's latest album (III-He Who Lives Amongst The Stars) is pretty close to the latest Candlemass records, the obvious question is: what's the point in having another Leif Edling Doom band? 

Well, a quick look at the line-up should give you a hint: vocals on Avatarium are performed by Jennie-Ann Smith. This new talent (never heard of her before) is definitely a great surprise. Her vocals perfectly fit the typical heavy riffs, and she adds a very nice ethereal feeling to the music. I just love the way she sings; her voice is powerful, clear and pure, but she never "pushes" it too much. There's nothing too bombastic here, only perfectly balanced and in-tune vocals.

But there is more to Avatarium than those unusual vocals. In fact, Leif Edling has managed to write some pretty great "pop-doom" tunes. The kind of songs you've never heard before, with some awesome melodies. My personal favorites are title track "Avatarium" and "Birds Of Prey" (amazing keyboards on this one). The closing power-ballad "Lady In The Lamp" is also fantastic, as a last reminder of Leif's incredible talent for songwriting. 

The best illustration however of that pop color to the record is "Boneflower". this song will instantly convince you that the record is worth the investment. 

To make a long story short, Avatarium is obviously another great doom band formed by Leif Edling. And it is very interesting to see how the guy manages to explore slightly different shades of that very specific style with each new band he forms. Candlemass is probably the most "classic" one of them, Krux has this more extreme and psychedelic approach and Avatarium has a unique almost "pop" feeling. 

Leif Edling remains unchallenged as THE master of Doom with yet another fantastic record released, driven by a very clear vision of what his music should sound like. 

Folks, the man definitely knows what he's doing; next time he releases a record, just go grab it. 


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Back with Death Metal Vengeance.

Wow, it's been a while since I last wrote about Metal on this blog. But what can I say, some things just never change. When you love Metal music, you don't switch to Jazz or classical music just because you're grown up and mature. Sure, you can add some other styles and perhaps more socially accepted music to you playlist, but once you're Metal, it's for life, you're doomed. 

The fact that I haven't been around for a while doesn't mean I quit Death Metal. That just can't happen, and I'm about to prove it. 

You guys might remember how thrilled I was about Miasmal in 2011. These young swedes had just released their first album on Dark Descent Records and I was totally exited about it, as it sounded evil, nasty and somehow out of control. Perhaps "dictated by some sort of  great evil power". 

The band's second album Cursed Redeemer was issued earlier this year, on a much bigger record company, Century Media. Obviously, everyone could see the potential of this extraordinary band. And I have to say I was quite surprised by that record. Maybe a little bit disappointed as well. 

Don't get me wrong, this is still top-notch Death Metal; delivered with a bombastic heavy sound. But Miasmal has deliberately chosen to emphasize on the groove, the heaviness and an almost "dancing" beat. Nothing wrong with that obviously, but I sort of miss the darkened evil, black edge to their music. Even the artwork is more colorful than the 2011 s/t release. 

Cursed Redeemer is still a pretty cool record that will force you to headbang all along with tracks like "A Veiled Remembrence" or "Until The Last" (although that might not be such a good idea doctors say). But I'll always prefer the first record, because of the unbelievable creepy sound (maybe not even done on purpose) and it's very dark, evil atmosphere. It just had a little more personality! 

They even have some official videos now! 

If you want some truly evil stuff, you can't miss Degial's first album, Death's Stiking Wings (out on Sepulchral Voice in 2012). I was really waiting for this record to come out since Fred Estby from Dismember told me about them in 2009 during an interview, when I asked him about any new exciting bands he'd discovered. And guess what, he's credited as the producer on this first album! 

There is absolutely no need to write many lines here; you just need to know that if you like Death Metal, then you have to own this record. This is pure evil. If has everything: the speed, the heaviness, the riffs, the darkened atmosphere, the evil vibe and it will freak you out as soon as the opener "Eye Of Buril Tempest" tumbles down. 
All the songs are great on this one, but I particularly enjoy "Swarming", the VERY heavy "Death's Striking Wings", or the twisted "Black Grave (The Gateway)". 

I really enjoy bands like Degial that perpetuate the true death metal tradition, like Kaamos did before them, and Verminous continue to do (from time to time).  

One advantage of telling you about some records that came out a couple of years ago is that I can say it that without any doubt: "Death's Stiking Wings" is one of the best Death Metal records that came out lately. And if you have a chance to see these guys live, don't hesitate; this is the most promising young Death Metal band out there.