Skip to main content

Avatar: Black Waltz

An exclectic Scandinavian metal symphony

For several years, Avatar have been trying to push the boundaries of melodic death metal. After a lot of teasing they’ve finally cracked their soundtrack to the apocalypse with the monstrous Black Waltz.

It’s an unhinged symphony of epic proportions with production skills from Tobias Lindell (Hardcore Superstar/Crash Diet). Despite his gothic clown make-up, growling vocalist Johannes Eckerström just can’t be compared to Alice Cooper, besides his band are far more focused on channelling Devin Townsend.

No two songs are the same and although Avatar thrive off this unstructured approach, it’s not always convincing. The simplistic opener Let Us Die does them no favours compared to the black metal rollercoaster that is Ready For The Ride; then there’s the bonkers single Let It Burn, with its country-on-speed guitars.

But it’s their quirky progressive finale that’s pure genius. Use Your Tongue mixes Americana, bhangra and farmyard noises – it’s enough to make any Devin fan smirk.

Natasha Scharf

Dark prog (and chocolate) fan Natasha has been a Prog regular since 2009. News Editor between 2014 and 2019, now Deputy Editor, she is the only member of the team to have appeared on Prog's cover.