Jan 052012

I think the first time I listened to Sweden’s Avatar was after Andy Synn reviewed a show they played in Oslo as support for Dark Tranquillity (here). I only listened to a couple of songs, but based on what I heard, I thought Andy summed up the music pretty well in his show review:  “a strange mix between Judas Priest-esque trad metal, Sentenced-style melancholy, and the upbeat folkery (?) of latter day Amorphis.”

Today’s press releases in the NCS in-box brought the news that Avatar has been signed by eOne Music for the North American distribution of their next album, Black Waltz, which will be released on February 14 in the U.S. There’s also a brand new music video for the album’s title track. And yes indeed, it’s interesting to watch.

It was professionally filmed at night in what’s billed as Sweden’s largest amusement park, and although it’s sort of fun watching Avatar’s face-painted front man spinning gleefully in a brilliantly lit carnival ride, it’s Hellzapoppin who steal the show. They’re a long-running group of performers who model themselves as a circus side-show act, and they contribute a variety of eye-catching stunts to the video.

As for the song itself, the title is a big clue. It is indeed a kind of metal waltz, a blending of melodic death metal and the cadences of the classical dance and a bunch of other shit thrown in the mix, too. My first reaction was that it was a bit too weird, a bit too schizophrenic, a bit too cheesy for my tastes. But then I noticed that the damned melody had gotten stuck in my head and I found myself listening to the song again. I may have to give this album a chance when it arrives. Check out the video after the jump. Continue reading »