Avatar (Swedish band)
|Genres||Groove metal, melodic death metal, heavy metal, industrial metal, Black Metal, Doom Metal|
|Labels||Gain Music Entertainment, eOne Music|
|Past members||Simon Andersson
The band was formed in 2001 by drummer John Alfredsson and guitarist Jonas Jarlsby, who at the time were in separate bands. After several lineup changes, the band released two 4 song EP demos in 2004: Personal Observations released on January 18, 2004 and 4 Reasons to Die on November 19, 2004. Avatar's first studio album, Thoughts Of No Tomorrow was released on January 25, 2006 and peaked at #47 on the Sweden Albums Top 60. Several European tours as a supporting act for Impaled Nazarene, Evergrey, and In Flames.
Their second album, Schlacht, was released in October 24, 2007, reaching spot 27 on the Swedish album chart. Björn Gelotte from In Flames contributed a guitar solo on the track Letters From Neverend. The subsequent set of tours saw them perform at the 2008 Sweden Rock Festival as well as shows in support of Obituary (January - February 2008), and Hardcore Superstar (October - November 2009). The band's third album, the self-titled Avatar, was released in Sweden in November 2009 reaching the 36th position on the national album chart. In January 2010 the band signed with Sony Music for the German and Swiss release of the latest album on March 26, 2010. In April of the same year a deal was signed with the Japanese label Art Union, for a May 19 launch of the album. They then launched into an ambitious touring schedule appearing at the 2010 Storsjöyran, and also with Warrior Soul (March - April 2010), Dark Tranquillity (October - November 2010), and Helloween (December 2010 - January 2011).
In January 2010 the music video for the song Queen of Blades was released on the band's website. Blizzard Entertainment mentioned this on their Facebook and Twitter pages, since the song is about the character Sarah Kerrigan from their game Starcraft, giving the band much attention among the game's many fans. December 2011 saw guitarist Simon Andersson leave the band, being replaced by Tim Öhrström. On January 25, 2012 the album Black Waltz was released in Europe. It reached position 25 on the album list in Avatar's native Sweden. The album was released in the US on February 14. Black Waltz marks the first appearance of the "Clown" face paint now worn regularly by Eckerström. To support the American release of Black Waltz, Avatar embarked on its first ever U.S. tour alongside Lacuna Coil and Sevendust in February 2013.
In August 2013, after the wife of Device and Disturbed's vocalist, David Draiman, developed pregnancy complications, Avatar was picked by Avenged Sevenfold to replace Device and continue to tour with them and Five Finger Death Punch. The following fall, the band spent a month in Thailand recording for a new album, planned for release in March 2014. On March 11, 2014 it was announced that Avatar's fifth album would be titled Hail the Apocalypse and was released May 13, 2014 via eOne Music. The album's first single, the title track, was released March 17, 2014 and was accompanied by a video. The new album is produced by Tobias Lindell and mixed by Jay Ruston. Since the release of Hail the Apocalypse, Avatar has conducted several tours of the U.S. and Europe as both a supporting and headline act, as well as performing at festivals such as Rock on the Range 2014 and the inaugural Louder Than Life. The music video for 'Vultures Fly' premiered on January 26, 2015 and earned distinction by being voted #1 for five weeks in a row in Loudwire's Battle Royal video countdown, as well as their 2015 Best Rock Video. Avatar then began a U.S. tour in April 2015 consisting of headline performances, and supporting Five Finger Death Punch and Mushroomhead.
On May 6, 2015 it was announced that Avatar would be included in the lineup of Shiprocked 2016. Avatar returned to the U.S. for another headline tour in August and September 2015 with Gemini Syndrome First Decree and January/ February 2016 with September Mourning  prior to returning to Sweden to complete writing on the follow up to Hail The Apocalypse. Sylvia Massy was announced as producer of this upcoming album, which is being recorded in three studios across Europe. Towards the end of 2015, it was announced Avatar would be scheduled to appear at several festivals in 2016, to include Rock on the Range and Carolina Rebellion.
Feathers & Flesh
After several tours supporting 2014's Hail the Apocalypse, Avatar entered the studio in December 2015 to begin recording a then unnamed follow-up studio album. The band split their time between three European studios — Castle Studios in Rohrsdorf, Germany, Finnvox Studios in Helsinki, Finland and Spinroad Studios in Lindome, Sweden. Acclaimed producer Sylvia Massy, noted for her work with Tool and Red Hot Chili Peppers, praised Avatar as 'relentless', noting singer Johannes Eckerström as having 'wild energy and charisma'. The start of recording sessions also coincided with multiple updates via the band's Instagram account, chronicling their time in the studio. Once recording finished, Avatar took part in Shiprocked 2016, then toured the southern United States with September Mourning and Saint Diablo. On January 30, 2016 in Dallas, Texas, Avatar performed the song For The Swarm, for the first time, the first original song since the release of their previous album.
On March 3, 2016, Avatar revealed the name of the new album, Feathers & Flesh, via their official website, and through social media. A release date of May 13, 2016 was also announced, as well as several pre-ordering merchandise bundles that would be available to order on March 17, 2016. One bundle offers a 60-page, 109-verse poem hardcover book described on the band's Facebook as 'a story too extensive for any booklet'. The first single, For The Swarm, was released as a reward for those pre-ordering the album on iTunes. A music video of this single was also released. Fan reception of the new song and video were high, as evidenced in For The Swarm being voted #1 in Loudwire's Battle Royale for the week ending March 11, 2016. On March 17th, 2016 the singles, Regret and House of Eternal Hunt were released to help kick off pre-ordering of merchandise bundles for Feathers & Flesh. A video directed by Johan Carlén was released featuring the two songs playing sequentially as the view pans around a darkened art gallery, with many paintings of birds, primarily owls, mirroring some of the artwork that the band has created for the individual songs on their album. Regret, as the opening track on the album, is described by the band as “an intense journey through epicness” and, “...by far the most different album intro we ever written.” The song introduces 'The Owl', the protagonist of the album as she lays dying, reflecting on her past. House of Eternal Hunt, described by the band as "the definition of metal", starts the tale of The Owl, a "predator ruling the sky" according to Eckerström. The first 'official' single, The Eagle Has Landed, was released March 25, 2016. As with the previously released singles, this track was an instant gratification reward for pre-ordering Feathers & Flesh. The song introduces 'The Eagle', "...crashing into the world of his adversary", according to Eckerström. No new music video was released with this track, though the band did upload the song to its official YouTube channel with the same video featured for the release of Regret and House of Eternal Hunt.
- Johannes Eckerström - lead vocals ( 2001–present)
- Jonas "Kungen" Jarlsby - guitars ( 2001–present)
- Tim Öhrström - guitars, backing vocals ( 2012–present)
- Henrik Sandelin - bass, backing vocals ( 2001–present)
- John Alfredsson - drums ( 2001–present)
- Simon Andersson - guitar (2001-2012)
- Albin Dahlquist – bass guitar
- Kim Egerbo – guitar (?–2003)
- John Isacsson – bass guitar (2001–?)
- Viktor Ekström – guitar (2001)
- Daniel Johansson – guitar (2001)
- Christian Rimmi – vocals (2001–?)
- Niklas Green – bass guitar (2002–2003)
- Björn Risberg – bass guitar (2003), guitar (2003)
- Mathias Smedberg –bass guitar (studio) (2003)
- Oscar Jungbeck – bass guitar
- 2006 - Thoughts of No Tomorrow
- 2007 - Schlacht
- 2009 - Avatar
- 2012 - Black Waltz
- 2014 - Hail the Apocalypse
- 2016 - Feathers & Flesh
- 2011 - Black Waltz EP
- 2003 - Personal Observations
- 2004 - 4 Reasons to Die
- 2005 - "My Shining Star"
- 2005 - "And I Bid You Farewell"
- 2009 - "The Great Pretender"
- 2014 - "Hail the Apocalypse"
- 2014 - "Bloody Angel"
- 2016 - "The Eagle Has Landed"
- "Metalhead Alliance Interview With Avatar". Youtube.com. 2015-05-14. Retrieved 2016-03-08.
- "Avatar - Personal Observations - Encyclopaedia Metallum". The Metal Archives. Retrieved 2016-03-03.
- "Avatar - 4 Reasons to Die - Encyclopaedia Metallum". The Metal Archives. Retrieved 2016-03-03.
- "Avatar - Thoughts of No Tomorrow - Encyclopaedia Metallum". The Metal Archives. Retrieved 2016-03-03.
- "Thoughts Of No Tomorrow by Avatar - Music Charts". Acharts.co. Retrieved 2016-03-03.
- "Avatar: 'Schlacht' Track Listing Revealed". Blabbermouth.net. 2007-08-21. Retrieved 2016-03-03.
- "Avatar - Schlacht - Encyclopaedia Metallum". The Metal Archives. Retrieved 2016-03-03.
- Sverigetopplistan.se - Veckolista Album - Vecka 44, 1 November 2007 Retrieved 2010-02-22.
- "Sweden Rock Festival 2008 Setlists". Setlist.fm. Retrieved 2016-03-03.
- Sverigetopplistan.se - Veckolista Album - Vecka 47, 20 November 2009 Retrieved 2010-02-22.
- Avatar Signs With Sony Music Germany Retrieved 2010-02-23.
- Japan here we come Retrieved 2010-04-30
- "Storsjöyran 2010 | Festivalinfo". Festivalinfo.se. Retrieved 2016-03-03.
- Avatar: ”Två av våra låtar handlar om Starcraft” Retrieved 2010-02-23.
- Veckolista Album - Vecka 5, 3 februari 2012 Retrieved 2012-02-08
-  Retrieved 2012-02-08
- "Avatar – "Bloody Angel": Hard Rock Daddy Review | Hard Rock Daddy". Hardrockdaddy.wordpress.com. 2014-05-30. Retrieved 2016-03-03.
- "The Last Laugh – An Interview with Avatar". Metal Blast!. 2013-12-01. Retrieved 2016-03-03.
- "Avatar To Support Sevendust And Lacuna Coil - in Metal News". Metal Underground.com. Retrieved 2016-03-03.
- Loudwire.com - David Draiman Cancels Device Tour Dates Due to Wife’s Pregnancy Complications, August 28, 2013 Retrieved 2015-05-21.
- "AVATAR Interview: Vocalist Talks 'Hail the Apocalypse'". Metalholic. 2014-03-11. Retrieved 2016-03-03.
- http://web.archive.org/web/20150516020523/http://rockontherange.com:80/lineup_2014.html. Archived from the original on May 16, 2015. Retrieved May 21, 2015. Missing or empty
- http://web.archive.org/web/20150422220834/http://www.louderthanlifefestival.com:80/music.html. Archived from the original on April 22, 2015. Retrieved May 21, 2015. Missing or empty
- AVATAR: 'Vultures Fly' Video Released - January 26, 2015 Retrieved 2015-05-21
- "Avatar Win 5th Annual Loudwire Music Awards Best Rock Video". Loudwire.com. Retrieved 2016-03-03.
- Avatar Fend Off RED to Enter Video Countdown Hall of Fame - March 6, 2015 Retrieved 2015-05-21
- AVATAR AT EXPO FIVE IN LOUISVILLE, KY - May 7, 2015 Retrieved 2015-05-21
- AVATAR AT PIERE’S IN FORT WAYNE May 16, 2015 Retrieved 2015-05-21
- Five Finger Death Punch hits Mobile - May 4, 2015 Retrieved 2015-05-21
- SR16 Lineup Retrieved 2015-05-21
- "Avatar, September Mourning and Saint Diablo US Tour Dates". Metalnerd.net. Retrieved 2015-12-21.
- "Avatar Announce U.S. Tour With Huntress + Gemini Syndrome". Loudwire.com. Retrieved 2016-03-03.
- "Avatar enter studio with sylvia massy". teamrock.com. Retrieved 2016-02-07.
- "Avatar Begin Recording for 2016 Studio Album". Loudwwire.com. 2015-12-10. Retrieved 2016-02-07.
- "Lineup for 2016 Rock on the Range Announced - Hard Rock & Heavy Metal News | Music Videos |Golden Gods Awards". Revolvermag.com. 2015-11-30. Retrieved 2016-03-03.
- "Disturbed, Five Finger Death Punch Lead Carolina Rebellion". Loudwire.com. Retrieved 2016-03-03.
- "Avatar Begin Recording for 2016 Studio Album". Loudwire.com. 2015-12-10. Retrieved 2016-03-03.
- "Avatar, September Mourning, and Saint Diablo U.S. tour dates". metalnerd.net. 2015-12-21. Retrieved 2016-03-03.
- "ShipRocked 2016 – Day 2: Seether, Hellyeah, Avatar + More". Loudwire.com. 2016-01-25. Retrieved 2016-03-03.
- "Avatar Perform New Song "For The Swarm" Live". metalanarchy.com. 2016-02-02. Retrieved 2016-03-04.
- "Avatar Official Website". avatarmetal.com. 2016-03-02. Retrieved 2016-03-04.
- "Avatar Announce ‘Feathers and Flesh’ Album Details + ‘For the Swarm’ Music Video". loudwire.com. 2016-03-03. Retrieved 2016-03-04.
- "Avatar Announce ‘Feathers and Flesh’ Album Details + ‘For the Swarm’ Music Video". Loudwire.com. 2016-03-03. Retrieved 2016-03-03.
- "Battle Royale: Avatar + Silvertung Crash Video Countdown". loudwire.com. 2016-03-11. Retrieved 2016-03-18.
- "Avatar Unveil ‘Regret’ and ‘House of Eternal Hunt’ From ‘Feathers & Flesh’ Album". loudwire.com. 2016-03-17. Retrieved 2016-03-18.
- "Avatar Reveal New Single ‘The Eagle Has Landed’". loudwire.com. 2016-03-25. Retrieved 2016-03-28.
- Official website
- Official page on MySpace
- Official page on YouTube
- Interview by Metal Experience
- Video interview by Press2play (Swedish)
- Interview by Flocked Media
- Interview by Metalholic
- Schlacht reviewed by Groove (Swedish music magazine)
- Avatar reviewed by Hallandsposten (Regional Swedish newspaper)
- Avatar reviewed by Göteborgsposten (Swedish newspaper)
- Avatar reviewed by FuryRocks
- Avatar reviewed by Metal Temple
- Black Waltz reviewed by RockNytt (Swedish)
- Black Waltz reviewed by Metalholic
- Hail The Apocalypse reviewed by Cryptic Rock