Avatarium – Hurricanes and Halos (Review)

AvatariumAvatarium are a doom rock band from Sweden and this is their third album.

Featuring current and ex members of bands such as Candlemass, The Doomsday Kingdom, Jupiter Society, Tiamat, and Evergrey, you know a lot of experience and talent is going to be present on this album before you even listen to it.

This is classic hard/doom rock, mixing with elements of progressive rock and doom metal, while also adding some blues rock, psychedelia, and lighter passages into their sound. It’s all topped off with some killer riffs, of course.

The influence of the 1970s is quite apparent in all aspects of the band’s delivery, including the sometimes quite lovely organ/keyboards. I’m not a huge fan of retro-styled releases, but somehow this isn’t an issue with Avatarium; they seem to be able to worship and pay tribute to that era, while still sounding of the current year, staying appropriately relevant to it too.

The songs are extremely catchy, memorable, and well-written, running the spectrum from upbeat rockers, to classic doom-fuelled dirges, to progressive/psychedelic workouts, to outright ballads. Whatever the band end up doing, they do it very well indeed. I always like it when each track on an album has its own distinct personality and is easily differentiated from its peers; Hurricanes and Halos is one such release.

Predictably, (in a good way), the real star of the show is their talented singer, with her rich, soulful voice. Although she’s undoubtedly the focal point of the release, the importance of the rest of the band shouldn’t be marginalised by this at all.

Hurricanes and Halos is a very well-rounded release, with plenty of diversity and interest to be found within the running time. Speaking of; at just under 45 minutes in length the album doesn’t outstay its welcome at all. In fact, I could quite easily have gone for another track or two, to be honest. What’s here is more than enough though, really, especially as all of the content is so engaging and impressive.

The production is warm and earthy, with a full, healthy-sounding recording. This allows the band to make the most of their songs, letting them breathe easily and sound vibrant and full of life.

Avatarium have produced a very fine example of what a quality doom rock album should sound like in 2017. It looks both backwards and forwards just the right amount, balancing the two through quality songwriting across this sterling collection of tracks.

Highly recommended.

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