By Patrick Saulnier
CALGARY – Calgarians can easily relate to the Nordic “land of ice and snow” moniker. And it’s fitting that concert-goers may experience that blast of winter first hand and brave the cold to witness Trivium and the Swedish band Avatar this October. It’s no secret that their nation has produced some of the greatest metal bands ever and Avatar hopes to one day be counted among them.
Arriving on the scene in 2001, they’ve released seven albums, charted songs as high as #20 on the Billboard and have become known for their theatrical flair around the globe by donning Alice Cooper-esque face paint while sporting bombastic marching band uniforms. The tunes are cool, a blend of modernized classic rock ‘n’ roll and guitar-driven power metal. There are hints of AC/DC, Iron Maiden and Manowar, as well as elements of the ‘Gothenburg’ edge made popular by bands like In Flames and Arch Enemy.
Touring the release of Avatar Country eariler this year, frontman Johannes Eckerström says he and his bandmates are happy to return to Canada, The U.S. and Europe, and hopefully conquer, the lands where some of his greatest influencers originated.
“Devin Townsend is one of my all-time favourites, as are Cryptopsy,” lead singer Eckerström says praising Canadian artists. “Few acts have meant as much for Avatar as they have. We are very glad to return so soon!”
Abounding with sonic textures, Avatar Country marks the outfit’s third consecutive concept piece, each revealing more layers of the ‘Avatar Nation.’ To Eckerström’s ear 2016’s release Feathers and Flesh was about “failure, loss, fear and death”, while Avatar Country is about “strength, victory, and hope.”
“Avatar is a metal nation!” Eckerström asserts. “Avatar Country became a love letter to everything metal. I think it is a journey better experienced than talked about. We finally decided to speak the truth of the nature of our nation and King and people are happier for it, especially me. I get to meet the King every day. The King is great.”
Avant-garde metal is all about experimenting and, with over 8.5 million plays online, Avatar have also become quite well known for their unique music videos. A medium they make good use of, further exploring the characters and concepts they’ve created with their music. “What pleases me the most,” notes Eckerström, “is our ability to visualize what we do in a way that is complete with our music.”
If progressive videos like “The King Welcomes You to Avatar” and “New Land” are any indication of the live performance theatrics Avatar is capable of presenting on stage, attendees at their forthcoming concert dates are in for nothing short of a spectacle.
Experience Avatar live as part of Trivium’s “The Sin and the Sentence” World Tour at on Oct. 25 at Ranch Roadhouse ( Edmonton), Oct. 26 at The Palace (Calgary), Oct. 28 at the Commodore Ballroom (Vancouver).Avatar, Commodore Ballroom, Metal, Ranch Roadhouse, Swedish, The Palace, The Sin and the Sentence, Trivium