This is Avatar. Our socks are more metal than most bands entire catalog. . Yeah, their image is ridiculous. But their music is some seriously ripping metal. At times evoking classic maiden with a range into much darker carnival metal. The guitars are beyond talented and Johannes Eckerström’s vocals wail with classical rage or snarl with guttural growls. It’s theatrical both visually and musically. Song structures tend to lean into the more complex which creates a grant tapestry of metal. They recently put out their 7th (!) full length album, called “Avatar Country”. The release is accompanied by a 44 min ‘movie’ called, “Avatar Country: A Metal Odyssey”. An ambitious companion to the album and while visually stunning, whatever story is being told is beyond the grasp of a casual listen. To fully embrace the album and film, one would have to look deeper into the direction of the movie. Johannes elaborates: “It was all such a unique thing to do and it was the concept that proved to us that everything is possible and that our fans are just as crazy as we are. It will be fun to watch a flick with them.” Again, what that concept is precisely is up to interpretation, but the music shreds and the movie is interesting to say the least. Avatar is one of those bands that almost seem like they are a parody of themselves, poking fun at the sheer over-the-top-ness of what they feed the masses. But the music and song structure are so solid, you have to take them seriously. Even with the clown makeup and coordinated outfits. Their music does often take on a ‘dark carnival’ vibe, so the image fits. Musically, the new album tears a hole in metals ass with such righteous guitar riffage, Dethklok would be proud. If you don’t know who Dethklok is, you should. The movie flows in order of the album, so sonically, you are greeted with this: 50 seconds of medieval chant singing about Glory to our King. I believe they are worshipping ‘metal’ as an abstract concept. Draw you own conclusions. But then the actual music kicks in and one starts to question their initial impression of their image versus their talent. Witness “Legend of the King”: It should be noted the band has a sick range when they want to, and can cop to most any kind of genre at will. Check out “The King Welcomes You to Avatar Country” that has a western flair draped over the metal. Very unexpected. And yes, every song on this album has the word ‘king’ in it. Cryptic. Or not. It’s always hard to tell with these barkers of metal. If you are feeling that and have 44 minutes to kill, you could do worse than spend it with Avatar and “Avatar Country: A Metal Oddsey”. With seven albums, there is quite a back catalog. Here is one of Modern Fix’s favorites: And for another dose of the Avatar ‘range’, listen to this live version of “Let it Burn”. A grooving rocker that shows Avatar can step outside the metal when they are feeling it. . . . . .