Tuesday, 10 December 2019

ALBUM REVIEW: Avatarium, "The Fire I Long For"

By: Richard Maw

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 22/11/2019
Label: Nuclear Blast

“The Fire I long For” CD//DD//LP track listing:

01. Voices
02. Rubicon
03. Lay Me Down
04. Porcelain Skull
05. Shake That Demon
06. Great Beyond
07. The Fire I Long For
08. Epitaph Of Heroes
09. Stars They Move

The Review:

Avatarium, originally Leif Edling's brainchild, are back here with album number four. Over the course of the last six years, the band has produced some top quality dramatic doom with the excellent vocals of Jennie Ann Smith being a huge selling point beyond the huge riffs and sometimes ethereal music offered up by both Edling and more so Marcus Jiddell.

“The Fire I long For” is not as immediate as “The Girl With the Raven Mask”, and not as hard rocking as “Hurricanes and Halos”. It is not really akin to the debut either- if that helps at all. It's ambitiously structured and is a rather downbeat listen- maudlin rather than dreamy. The first three tracks offer up plenty of melodrama but it's a very different type of melodrama to, say, The Door To Doom.” by Candlemass

Opener “Voices” is a dark one- with a rather disappointing snare sound, but after that things pick up via “Rubicon” and “Lay Me Down”- reaching a first half peak with the sublime “Porcelain Skull”- great riffs and songwriting! There is also rock n roll aplenty here- “Shake That Demon” is hard driving rock of the best kind, bridging the two halves of the record and blowing away any atmospheric cobwebs. The BOC, Rainbow and Sabbath influences remain, of course, but Avatarium sound different to all other doom bands operating.

The epic “Great Beyond” and the title track share similar DNA; dark and spacey soundscapes of five minutes plus. The black as tar “Epitaph of Heroes” is the record's longest and darkest listen with no small amount of dramatic riffage. “Stars They Move” closes this intriguing and abstract record with varied instrumentation and an excellent vocal performance from Smith. The press release refers to Leonard Cohen as a writing influence and I can see and hear it here. This is a different album for Avatarium; progressive and ethereal, hard to grasp and a grower. You'll get a great record out of repeated listens. Another sublime record.

“The Fire I Long For” is available HERE

Band info: facebook