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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Avatar - Black Waltz review

Year : 2012
Genre : Melodic Death Metal with Goth and Groove tendencies
Label : Gain Music Entertainment
Origin : Sweden
Rating : 8.2 / 10

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With its fourth full length declaration, Swedish Avatar delivers a ripe vision of its own intentions. The band has been around since 2001, making a name for themselves as supporting acts beside such well established squads as In Flames and Halloween, among many others. The Black Waltz LP, as a studio delivery, exhibits very interesting central characteristics. First and foremost, the band seemingly was not at all reluctant to refrain from recent day production trends, like the super-polished sound. On the other hand, this crystal clear kind of modus operandi consorts with a unique vision of sonic balance in the mixes. The name of the game herein is the relentless set of masterfully engineered biomechanic drum, which though simply is in love with all its surroundings, always making sure that it does not hurt the sonic integrity of the other instruments. It's interesting and fruitful that I have to write such a notion, as the album I reviewed before this one, seemed to have a tendency to overwhelm its own character with hyper-bloated drums. Avatar's latest, on the other hand, is a disc produced in an exceptionally sober manner, and now is the time to talk about the music, too. Guys, let's talk about the music.

Black Waltz is a surprisingly accessible melodic death metal release, which does not at all mean that it would be out there to seek family safe commercial appeal. That is not the case at all. The song structures simply are very easy to relate to-, to grasp unto, and they are ready to address their assets and sonic commodities in a straightforward fashion, courtesy of rigorously revealed logic reigning evident in their musically competent fabric. This is not the angst driven-, neurotic melodic death metal tailor made to reflect the capricious emotional tendencies or the favorite sentiments relating to the favorite computer game of an identity crisis resident in a teenager, it, instead, is "just" serious melodic death metal, composed of legitimate musical thoughts and luscious patterns. Some of these thoughts and patterns are more elegant than others, some are platitude, but this is the minority. For the most part, this release is able to reveal elegant patterns of brute, but inventive sonic force. I like this sentence so much that I will conclude this review with it.

Black Waltz, as an LP, thank God & Co., is free of any delusions of having to satisfy certain expectations as soon as possible, so the band looks good and "just" natural when they decide to take a stroll along AC/DC-ish 4/4 fistpumping action in track number 7, "Let it burn", for example. But notice the chorus : the chorus reeks Pantera and its double barreled shotgun groove metal. The southern double barreled shotgun coated by a cobra vibe is something the album is fond of relying on, but not with an over-indulgent tendency. But, with a quite prominent one, as the very next track, called "Next Touch", equally reeks Pantera. The fabric of this 55 minutes ride sports a reoccurring affection towards Goth-, and, do not be afraid : relative pop tendencies, too. The chorus of "Smells like a Freak Show" is pop. Phil Collins would be happy to sing this. (And he would sound much fucking better, too, but no offense to the singer of the chorus, as he gives a good average performance. Sorry, you know I'm a douché sometimes, and almost always when I'm criticizing music in pink latex lingerie.)

As noted, I especially am happy with how the release is sounding, as the miserable music critic would need to look for five eternities to come up with a legitimate death metal release sounding so eminently polished and still as grouchy as this baby does. The songcraft is good, exhibiting some blemishes here and there that prevent it from being great. Example : the chorus of the 11 minute LP concluder epic, "Use Your Tongue." Yes, the lyrics are puzzling, - "hate your neighbor, know your enemy, use your tongue to clean their rooms" (W.T.F.) - yes, the instrumental breakdown is superb, but the chorus sounds like a Cure song the original band would deny that they have ever recorded it. In my opinion, at least. If you love the chorus, amen and the most honest - tautology - bliss'o mine to that, of course. Please, do not let these truly minor subjective bitchwhinings put you off of the trail of this fine release though, as, for the most part, - 90%, that is - this release is able to reveal elegant patterns of brute, but inventive sonic force. See?

Rating : 8.2 / 10

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