Avatarium has a new album out today, and as I fuck off for a few hours to bask in its undoubted splendor, I'll leave you fine folks with a recycled review of their 2015 debut. The Girl With the Raven Mask fit neatly into that year's AoTY slot, both in the moment and in well-considered retrospect. Without further ado:
So here I sit, basking in the warmth of Jennie-Ann Smith's vocal stylings. In one sense, her voice is a confluence of qualities: Grace Slick's sheer force, Jess (of the Ancient One's) eerie flow, and Jex Thoth's silky smoothness. But in another sense entirely, her tone is sophisticated beyond compare. Every track is imbued with a slightly distinct (yet no less alluring) character, and it is Smith, in large, who is responsible for this brilliant dynamism.
That's not to discredit the rest of the group's contributions--Candlemass' illustrious Leif Edling, for one, manages to orchestrate 70's prog rock, meandering psychedelia, crunchy doom, and jazzy overtones in a seemingly effortless manner. It's elegant. It's got meaty riffs, swooning choruses, and some truly tasteful application of atmospheric keys. In terms of highlights, "Run Killer Run" balances doomy weight and hooky NWOBHM sensibilities with great aplomb, while "January Sea" ebbs and flows with the kind of natural grace a band is lucky to ever chance upon. "Pearls and Coffins," for all its seemingly sappy components, has one of the most charybdian choruses I've ever heard.
The Girl With The Raven Mask is a wholey unique album, an intrinsically compelling entry into the flotilla of pseudo-legacy acts sailing the seas of doom. If you haven't heard this beast yet, it comes with the highest recommendation I can possibly offer. If you have heard it, it's absolutely worth a revisitation.
Avatarium - The Girl With The Raven Mask was released by Nuclear Blast in 2015.
Providing thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy, and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a groggy-eyed, highfalutin peasantry.