My first introduction to Swedish melodic death metallers Avatar was at a UK festival where the band blew me away with their circus show/pompous death metal shenanigans. That was the high because, shortly after, I gave their Hail The Apocalypse album a spin and was left feeling well, if I’m honest, a little disappointed as it seemed to be missing some ingredient which their live show possesses.

Well, the band are back with Feathers & Flesh, their sixth offering, and even by the end of the first track “House Of Eternal Hunt”, it’s very clear that they’ve got the recipe just right this time around. Capturing the gloriously over-the-top schtick of their live show, concept album Feathers & Flesh is a terrific display of pomp. Dramatic but all very tongue-in-cheek, this time around the group managed to perfect their mix.

Part circus sideshow, part symphonic pomp, part melodic death metal, it sounds ridiculous and, looking at the ringmaster clobber worn by frontman, Johannes Eckerstrom, it probably is. Why it works though is because these Swedes have the swagger, the confidence and the intelligence to pull it off; many bands don’t, but this circus freakshow manage it!

It’s hard to pinpoint why it works. Maybe because it is a concept album that songs like “Tooth, Beak And Claw” work. The concept is as big as the personality of the band and, while this might be the first time they’ve tried such a direction, it might also be the reason why, unlike some of their previous works, Feathers & Flesh along with the image, the atmosphere, the schtick, all sounds like it fits together. Big things are expected of this band in 2016 and, having already given the metal scene a bit of a shake-up, you get the feeling that it’s time for the real apocalypse!

Feathers & Flesh Track Listing:

01. Regret
02. House of Eternal Hunt
03. The Eagle Has Landed
04. New Land
05. Tooth, Beak & Claw
06. For the Swarm
07. Fiddler’s Farewell
08. One More Hill
09. Black Waters
10. Night Never Ending
11. Pray the Sun Away
12. When the Snow Lies Red
13. Raven Wine
14. Sky Burial

Run Time: 63:26
Release Date: May 13, 2016

Check out the track “The Eagle Has Landed”

I have an unhealthy obsession with bad horror movies, the song Wanted Dead Or Alive and crap British game shows. I do this not because of the sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll lifestyle it affords me but more because it gives me an excuse to listen to bands that sound like hippos mating.