Avatarium – All I Want EP (Review)

Avatarium - All I Want EP (2014)
Avatarium – All I Want EP (2014)

Their self-titled album Avatarium was one of 2013’s surprise delights and one of the strongest debuts of recent years. What I really want is a proper follow-up album but, in the meantime, All I Want will do nicely. With just two new songs and three live recordings, it’s essentially a stop-gap until the next full album. But this 2014 EP is well worth hearing in its own right, offering evidence of their evolving and gelling sound as the band hit a new richness of depth following their first live shows.

Vexed by the typical variable Scottish weather, the band hedged their bets.
Vexed by the typically variable Scottish weather, the band hedged their bets.

Formed by Candlemass’ Leif Edling, Avatarium hadn’t performed any live shows when they recorded their debut album so it’s interesting to hear how they deliver live. Taken from their spot at the Roadburn Festival, the three live tracks are all excellent. It’s especially impressive to hear Jennie-Ann Smith’s vocals in the live setting. She’s an incredible discovery: delicately soulful, ominously powerful and one of the best singers around today. The band ably replicates the studio versions, the crushing Dehumanizer-grade weight of Marcus Jidell’s riffs are just as potent live but the psychedelic side of the music is more apparent as Carl Westholm’s keyboard textures are allowed more room to breathe. And Jidell’s lead guitar is looser, more confident. His outstanding Blackmore-esque solo on Pandora’s Egg draws appreciative cheers and he takes the Tides of Telepathy solo into a Hendrix-inspired section that lifts the song to new classic heights.

But the main event is the two new songs. They continue in the same vein as the debut but the more expansive chemisty, evinced by the live tracks, feeds into both: they sound richer and more colourful than the tracks on Avatarium. All I Want is a groovy rocker, graced with Edling’s seemingly infinite supply of golden hooks and drenched with Hammond organ and a percussive passage right out of Zeppelin. Fittingly, Deep Well is a deeper, darker experience. The swampy vamp and soulful vocals lifts into a chilling chorus. The dread of the thick, heaving chords graced with the subtle, rising power of Wilson’s vocals is monumental in the way only the best Doom can be and one of Avatarium’s greatest triumphs to date.

So, while it is a stop-gap release, All I Want is a satisfying and enlightening listen in its own right. Existing fans will welcome the new songs and new flavour the live tracks add to the older material. And given that the new songs rank among the very best the band has yet recorded it serves as a potent introduction for newcomers. The EP deserves to draw new fans into Avatarium’s increasingly deep, dark well.

HMO Rating: 4 out of 5

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28 thoughts on “Avatarium – All I Want EP (Review)”

      1. I’d have preferred a unofficial video of the video official.

        The packaging looks just like UFOMAMMUT WHO I’VE BEEN TRYING TO MAKE YOU LISTEN TO SINCE 2013!!

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  1. I would love to see a show of powerful women on stage. The Wilson sisters(Heart), Amy Lee, Llzy Hale, Doro, Teri Gender Bender, Taylor Momsen, and Jennie Anne-Smith, among others.That would be an epic show. Kind of like a Lillith Fair that kicks ass.
    For now I will have to at least find some Avatarium. I was turned off of them by the lazy War Pigs cover, but hoped they still had potential. It sounds like do.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I liked the War Pigs cover. Mainly just for her voice though. I appreciate that they tried something different with it anyway. But their own stuff is fantastic. If you like Sabbath (especially with Dio) I’m sure you’d like this band. And I second the notion for a Metal Lillith Fair haha

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      1. Ha, yeah it is what it is… There is an angst about Metal that might not be so appealing in women….for better or worse.

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  2. Interesting! I played the song in the video. It’s alright! Do they play faster than that too? I imagine it sounding better faster, somehow. Hm. Still, it ain’t bad!!

    Also, happy 3rd birthday HMO!

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    1. Thank you!

      No, that’s probably about as fast as they go. One of their only “up-tempo” songs too. They’re not a fast band. Not sure I’d prefer it faster either, I think the groove would be lost. Did you get the track I emailed?

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      1. Didja paint the town red, three times? 😉

        I’m playing this other track now, it’s cool. I think I like it better than the one in the video, somehow. Watch me be unable to articulate!

        I have a thing against singers making the voice crack on purpose. This one does it sometimes when she’s singing gently. If it does that on its own, okay, but if it’s an affectation, away tae f… anyway, I don’t like it. But she definitely improves when the song picks up and she wails. Also, GUITAR SOLO!

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      2. I think I prefer the one I emailed too. More weighty.

        It’s not something that bothers me. Maybe if it was overused… Don’t know that the idea of an affectation bothers me though. I’d just call it a technique.

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      3. Yeah, I need to check that, it’s just a thing I have. I hear that and I think oh here we go again…

        True, though, some are waaaaaay worse about it I’m looking at you Sarah McLachlan.

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