Avatarium - Hurricanes And Halos album review

Glorious orgy of excess from versatile Swedes

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Swedish doom-metal maximalists Avatarium greedily devour a banquet of hard rock styles on their rich and spicy third album, from bosom-heaving Wagnerian melodrama to thunderous Zeppelin-sized riff-crunchers to rumbling cinematic soundscapes.

Although health issues have forced founding member and former Candlemass bassist Leif Edling to take a more part-time role, the husband and wife team of guitarist Marcus Jidell and singer Jennie-Anne Smith still make a formidable team, expanding the band’s sound with stormy epics like the nine-minute prog-folk symphony Medusa Child or the operatic power ballad The Starless, which sounds like ABBA might if they donned horned helmets and crashed fire-breathing dragons into the gates of Valhalla.

A couple of workmanlike blues-metal chuggers aside, Hurricanes And Halos is a gloriously preposterous showcase for Smith’s mighty vocal range, which can switch with ease from excess-all-arias histrionics to the sultry, soulful sighs of When Breath Turns To Air, Jidell’s fond tribute to his late father.