ALBUM REVIEW: AVATAR – Dance Devil Dance
Photo Credit: Johan Carlèn
Whenever Avatar are about to release a new album, it’s always fun to try and guess what this upcoming record will sound like, as well as what their onstage attire will look like. As two years and some change has passed since the Swedes released Hunter Gatherer, the time has now come for the quintet to hang up the quasi-farmer’s uniforms in favour of some spiffy new garments fit for vampire hunters: it’s time for us to learn how to Dance Devil Dance.
For its predecessor, Hunter Gatherer, the band made a return of sorts to their more serious sound, which they’d all but abandoned on fan-favourites Feathers & Flesh and Avatar Country. Dance Devil Dance could feel like a repeat entry to some fans, since the album pretty much continues the same over-all tone which was re-established back in August 2020. Tracks such as Chimp Mosh, Do You Feel in Control, and Clouds Dipped in Chrome all seem to fit the same pattern of a brutal and barrelling barrage of distorted guitars and bass, which would have fit just as well on the band’s older albums, and can end up feeling somewhat forgettable. There’s also a collaborative track in Violence No Matter What, which sees Halestorm’s Lzzy Hale blend her voice with that of Johannes Eckerström. Though it tends to be a tad repetitive, which can detract from an otherwise enjoyable experience, as the feature works surprisingly well.
That said, the album does have its fair share of songs which are sure to grip audiences, starting with the eponymous opener Dance Devil Dance, with its almost tribal staccato rhythms and piercing vocals during the chorus. Hazmat Suit is among the more energetic numbers found on offer, while Valley of Disease scatters a handful of electronic elements into the mix. Train is equal parts chilled and pedal to the metal heavy, with Eckerström flexing his storytelling muscles, a trait which also shows up on The Dirt I’m Buried In, alongside some killer solos and guitarwork from Tim Öhrström and Jonas “Kungen” Jarlsby. Elsewhere, On the Beach switches from actual seagull sounds in its intro, to some high intensity soloing, and even heads into nursery rhyme territory before the track is over. The cowbell-fuelled Gotta Wanna Riot is by far a future fan-favourite with its rousing speed and cheerful vocal performance – it’s clear as day that Eckerström had a field day when recording this one, and we’re here for it.
While it’s certainly got some tracks which pale in comparison to others, Dance Devil Dance is quite a solid record, with more than a handful of memorable moments to hold fans over until they can see Avatar in concert, or until they put out another album – whichever comes first.
Standout Tracks: Dance Devil Dance, On The Beach, Gotta Wanna Riot, The Dirt I’m Buried In, Train
For Fans Of: In Flames, Amon Amarth, Insomnium
Written by: Florin Petrut