AVATARIUM — The Fire I Long For (review)

AVATARIUM — The Fire I Long For album cover Album · 2019 · Doom Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
Kev Rowland
Between the second and third album both Leif Edling (bass) and Carl Westholm (keyboards) left Avatarium, being replaced by Mats Rydström and Rickard Nilsson respectively. Then between the third and this the fourth, released towards the end of 2019, drummer Lars Sköld also departed to be replaced by Andreas ”Habo” Johansson, leaving only guitarist Marcus Jidell and singer Jennie-Ann Smith as founding members. I really enjoyed the third album, although some fans felt they had moved too far away from doom and into the early Seventies style they had been playing with on the second, but no-one can say they have continued down that road, as stylistically this sits between their self-titled debut and ‘The Girl With The Raven Mask’. There have been changes in the line-up, yet the band have pulled themselves together and have gone back to their roots – all of which is somewhat strange given that the first two people to leave were both from Candlemass so one might have expected the doom to have gone with them.

We still get the Seventies-style songs where Jidell and Smith show they can do something different, yet they also bring the doom. Leif Edling actually contributed three songs to the album, and he and Jidell continue to work together in other areas, he just isn’t playing with the band. Jidell says the album “is emotional and it will always have those dark elements in it, it is all about light and shadow”. Adds Jennie-Ann: “Leif’s artistry, wilfulness and supreme songwriting is a great inspiration. We have a heritage to take care of but also a responsibility to propose growth and development for our music.” They have certainly done that, as this album contains some of their finest songwriting and performances to date, mixing the doom with dark gothic elements and early Heep. There is a Hammond passage on “Porcelain Skull” far heavier than most guitars ever manage, although Jidell does his best to match it.

Commercial, timeless, accessible yet stretching boundaries, this is doom for the 21st century which has its roots very firmly based on two great British bands from fifty years ago, as they take the best bits of Black Sabbath and Uriah Heep and turn their legacy into their own.
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