Formed in Gothenburg, Sweden in 2001 Avatar have gone from strength to strength since their debut release in 2006. Touring with bands as diverse as Obituary, Helloween, Lacuna Coil and Five Finger Death Punch they have astonished fans with their unique brand of avant-garde, melo-death pomp-rock.
Avatars seventh studio album Avatar Country, was released in 2018 and frontman Johannes Eckerström described it as a “love letter to metal.” Returning with The King Live in Paris, which captures their dramatic performance at Download Festival 2018 in Paris, France, this is effectively a love letter to the fans.
Eckerström has stated:
“Looking back at all that’s happened and what’s still going on it feels more like a document from a pivotal battle than a live album,”
“In the past, I’ve found it hard to motivate making something like this, but as time goes on, I find it fortunate that we get to have our work captured like this. I realize now more than ever that we are in the process of constant change. This release is a version of AVATAR that didn’t exist a year prior, and that already has morphed into something else. The show at Download Paris was a particular one for many reasons. We are very proud of the result.”
Quite rightly so. Avatar deliver on so many levels. The musicianship, passion and sense of wonderment is palpable. Despite being such a visual act, this live release demonstrates the energy and sheer class of their performance. An excerpt from the band press release states the following;
I am writing to you from the future! The sound of the King and His Elite Orchestra was so powerful at the Battle of Download Paris that it moved the air faster than the speed of light! I don’t know how but I woke up on the release date of the King Live In Paris and I can hardly believe what I am seeing. All aging has stopped in Avatar Country. All doctors and nurses are retiring for there are no ailments, so sicknesses left to cure…
We fought the battle to end all wars. There is peace in the world and my soul.
Opening with A Statue Of The King the first single from their latest studio release and the crowd goes wild. The energy levels and the levels of fun are all encompassing.
On this glorious day we’re all citizens!
By all your warriors’ names, we swear diligence!
Lay the first stone
we lay at your feet…
…all the world trembles, begs and flees!
The crowd unite in their enthusiasm and celebration of the glory of the all-conquering and most triumphant Avatar country!
From 2012’s Black Waltz album we have the monster riff of Let It Burn which both crushes and induces an ecstatic response. Paint Me Red (again from Black Waltz) is delivered brutally, the anthemic chorus is powerful. The Download choir is in full force as Bloody Angel (2014, Hail The Apocalypse) commences and Eckerström delivers the vocals as a death metal Bowie! Check it out here
The high octane For The Swarm (2016, Feathers & Flesh)is ferocious in its intensity. Tower (Hail The Apocalypse) is majestically moving, the acapella opening of The Eagle Has Landed (Feathers & Flesh) builds into a fist pumping epic. The crowd is encouraged to roar, if there were only visuals! The next song is introduced in ‘a Rob Halford style’ with Eckerstrom screeching the first word and the audience responding with the remainder as enthusiastically as the performance itself. Smells Like A Freakshow (Black Waltz) is spirited and bombastic, followed by the deep groove of the infectious Avatar Country and Hail The Apocalypse closes the show with a flourish.
Capturing the atmosphere and the audience participation; the sheer delight of the crowd and band alike. The King Live In Paris is a cause for celebration.
Hail Avatar! 9/10
The King Live In Paris is now available
2. A Statue Of The King
3. Let It Burn
4. Paint Me Red
5. Bloody Angel
6. For The Swarm
8. The Eagle Has Landed
9. Smells Like A Freakshow
10. Avatar Country
11. Hail The Apocalypse
Each Monday The Metal Report sends out a list of all stories, interviews, reviews and features we’ve posted for the previous week. You can sign up for it here.