Hail one sadistic circus.
Swedish metal band Avatar will take you on a rock ride – that whether you love or hate – you won’t forget after one listen to Hail The Apocalypse.
Avatar wastes no time slinging the metal around with the title track and single that is putting the outfit on American air. Flesh-eating riffs open for the first taste of lead singer Johannes Eckerstrom’s gutteral screams – screams you absolutely clamor for more for, even after several consecutive listens. When he belts, “Throw the spear,” better have the cruise set if driving.
Religious themes pop their heads here. “All flesh is equal when burnt/We are forgiven/forgive as we never shall learn”
At the 3:09 mark, the band generously gives you 35 or so more seconds of the opening glory.
No time lapse as “I Don’t Know” kicks in to a trippy circus-themed backdrop. “Death of Sound” breaks up edgy riffs and chops with a songful chorus.
“Vultures Fly” had to grow on me, but when it did, it grew quickly. A Rob Zombie-ish intro is followed by the now-typical melody, but also with Eckerstrom’s varying vocals and pushy gritty calls.
“Bloody Angel,” another released American single is a beautiful mix of metal, melodic vocals, sweet arrangements and paralyzing lyrics: “Come bloody angel/Break off your chains and look what I found in the dirt/Pale battered body/It seems she was struggling/Something is wrong with this world.”
More religious theme it seems.
Hopefully, “Murderer” never gets overlooked on this masterpiece. From the bass to the chorus screams of “Murderer,” it’s a metal thing of beauty.
Religious theme continues with: “Shame on you who dared survive/You shall pay/The dead will rise” and “Will the torturer save your soul/Will this path take you down below”
“Tsar Bomba” comes right at you in anti-English venom (More on the meaning of Tsar Bomba)
“Puppet Show” is the favorite track of both my 6-year-old and my 3-year-old. Back to the twisted circus beat behind Eckerstrom, it’s the deepest growl of his made-for-horror-movie pipes. And is that a trombone?
“Get in Line” is heavy, heavy and a perfect way to lead into a cover of Nirvana’s “Something in the Way.”
“Tower” closes the disc with an unexpected and delightful melodic twist as Eckerstrom sings down the 11th and final track.
It’s like a metal show with classical instruments, like a rodeo with poodles, like a metal show with all the bells and whistles. Get it, before the rest of America beats you to it.