20 Best Hard Rock & Heavy Metal Albums Of 2018 (So Far)
19. Avatar – Avatar Country
Second up, we have the Swedish favourites Avatar, who welcomed 2018 with a bang thanks to the conceptual fascination and aural insanity of Avatar Country. Ever since their breakthrough in
2012 with Black Waltz, these visually
enchanting enigmas have gone from strength to strength, finding their niche
through avant-garde tunes and increasingly interesting visuals and concepts.
Released only eighteen months after their concept album Feathers and Flesh – which had a fable-like
narrative about an owl and an eagle – Avatar
Country keeps the bizarre stories coming, this time focusing upon a
hauntingly omnipresent ruler known as “The King” and his nation of subjects. The
music is similarly weird and balls-to-the-wall, mixing genres from groove metal
to hard rock to prog to country together as one.
The end result is not as
disjointed as it may seem. Despite dipping its toes into a great many musical styles, Avatar Country is sewn together by a
stomping swagger, gorgeously operatic vocals and primal riffing.
While it may
not have the same emotional grandeur or patient diversity of Feathers and Flesh, Avatar Country is far catchier and more satirical than its
predecessor, with choice cuts “The King Wants You” and “King After King”
especially infectious, but also holding a parodic mirror up to contemporary
cults of personality.