Most people know Leif Edling as the bass player and founder of Candlemass, but not a whole lot of people know about his other brainchild Avatarium. Leif founded Avatarium in 2012, together with SOEN guitarist Marcus Jidell. Singer Jennie-Anne Smith, Tiamat drummer Lars Sköld, organist Rickard Nilsson and bass player Mats Rydström complete the ranks. The attentive reader is probably wondering why this band needs two bass players. Well, because of health issues Leif Edling had to quit playing live shows with Avatarium. Although Edling stepped out of the spotlight, he is still active as mentor and songwriter for the band. He wrote six of the eight tracks on Hurricanes and Halos. Unlike on the previous two albums, Jennie-Ann Smith and Marcus Jidell were also strongly involved in the songwriting process this time.
Hurricanes and Halos is a very strong album, filled with the 70’s style doomy prog rock Avatarium has become synonymous with. The songs are dark, beautiful and very diverse. Jennie-Ann Smith‘s bluesy voice is absolutely stunning. Opening track Into The Fire – Into The Flame is a dark, yet enthralling song that reflects upon the current world situation.
The Starless Sleep is one of the catchiest songs about nightmares and beasts inside your head I’ve ever heard. Medusa Child has a bit of a Jefferson Airplane vibe. The children’s choir is a very nice addition. Even though it’s a very long song (nine minutes), it does not get boring one moment. And the instrumental song Hurricanes and Halos is melancholic and enchantingly beautiful.
Ballad When Breath Turn To Air is dedicated to Marcus Jidell‘s deceased father:
“My father was the one that no matter what circumstances, never lost hope or faith in me. Growing up in a family where things were quite turbulent at times, he enabled a safe attachment. He was a very gentle and warm-hearted man and I will always miss him. The song is about loss, but also about how someone’s spirit can stay with you even though their physical remains are gone.”
With Hurricanes and Halos Avatarium delivered an excellent album. The combination of the beautiful bluesy vocals and the rough and heavy guitars keeps on working very well. Fans of Candlemass, Soen, Rainbow, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath and Uriah Heep should definitely give this band a listen!
Release date: May 26th, 2017
Label: Nuclear Blast
1. Into The Fire – Into The Storm
2. The Starless Sleep
3. Road to Jerusalem
4. Medusa Child
5. The Sky At The Bottom Of The Sea
6. When Breath Turns To Air
7. A Kiss (From The End Of The World)
8. Hurricanes And Halos