AVATARIUM-Hurricanes And Halos
Nuclear Blast Records
Avatarium….. this band has something magic. I can’t put my finger on it but ever since the first CD hit the shelves some four years ago I was intrigued and captivated by the doomy sound this band produced, a great mix between Black Sabbath and Deep Purple with a female singer Jenni-Ann Smith with an angelic yet strong voice. Candlemass mastermind Leif Edling might no longer be with Avatarium on stage, he still writes the bulk of the material for the band although guitarist Marcus Jidell (still heavily influenced by Ritchie Blackmore) and Jennie-Ann Smith had a bigger influence on the songs this time. We all know that Edling hardly ever took the stage with Avatarium but it is fair to say that he and Jidell masterminded this outfit. In recent interviews Edling has stated that Avatarium does not need him anymore and that they can stand on their own feet, but I just hope that Edling stays involved in the song writing process, as he is just a genius that has put the doom genre more or less on the music map with Candlemass and his other projects and bands. The first ‘Avatarium’ CD and the second ‘The Girl With The Raven Mask’ quite often find their way into my CD-player and I am sure the same will happen with ‘Hurricanes And Halos’. Okay, the real surprise is just about gone now but yet again the songs on this CD are almost just as captivating and interesting as the ones on the first two records. As usual the bands starts with some up tempo songs (,,Into The Fire’’, ,,The Starless Sleep’’) before becoming more melodic, psychedelic and melancholic, switching tempo on moments that you do not expect it and thus keeping the listener fully occupied. ,,Road To Jerusalem’’ has a lot of eastern influences, while ,,Medusa Girl’’ is a long piece of work that switches from left to right with heavy keyboards from new recruit Rickard Nilsson, ending with a choir of little girls singing. ,,When Breath Turns To Air’’ is a psychedelic ballad with a lyric about Marcus Jidell’s deceased father. ,,The Sky At The Bottom Of Sea’’ has clearly been influenced by old Uriah Heep and seventies Uli Roth style Scorpions and rocks away hard and relentlessly. The only track that I have problems with is the title song as it is an instrumental piece where hardly anything happens. ‘Hurricanes And Halos’ is in most aspects a logic step in the career of Avatarium, with a rich, powerful yet versatile sound and production, psychedelic moments and poetic lyrics and inspired musicians.