Back in December, we came across a dark and twisted music video for the track "Black Waltz" by Swedish metallers Avatar, with evil clown-painted frontman Johannes Eckerström playing your deranged host, and the famous Hellzapoppin circus sideshow troupe (including their leader, "Zamora the Torture King") doing lots of don't-try-this-at-home stuff with power tools. That vid was sick and wicked fun, so we're excited to be hosting the world premiere of the band's second visual spectacle... which is just as bizarre (and way more violent) than "Black Waltz" – which, by the way, is also the title of the band's recently-released album. The new clip and some more info about the band is waiting for you after the jump, so grab a helmet and take a dive, because this one's gonna be brutal...
Avatar's profile has been climbing steadily over the past few years, thanks to strong reviews for their self-titled 2009 album and well-received festival appearances (they've toured with metal icons like Megadeth, Helloween and Obituary), and they've also developed a following among gamers after releasing the song and video "Queen of Blades," dedicated to a character from the game Starcraft. Black Waltz is their fourth full-length record, which the band recorded last summer with producer Tobias Lindell. I confess I hadn't heard their work prior to the title track's premiere, but once I heard, I was hooked.
The band's sound incoporates some of the conventions of Sweden's Gothenburg-style melodic death metal, but with one boot firmly planted in the circle of classic metal and hard rock. Eckerström's face-paint, black leather trenchcoat, hat and cane borrow elements of goth and glam imagery, but his powerfully gruff vocals paired with the band's raunchy rage-fueled energy are 100% metal madness (never before have I heard the words "Good morning, rise and shine" delivered like a kidney punch). I see him as a cross between Mr. Dark from Ray Bradbury's Something Wicked This Way Comes and one of the "Baseball Furies" gang from The Warriors... and in a way, Black Waltz is a musical fusion of those two fantasy worlds, mingling unvarnished heavy rhythms and riffs with layers of atmospheric keyboards, choir harmonies and some wild technical improvisation.
There's a wide variation in tone, styles and tempos throughout the album, but the energy level is always high, which gives the entire experience a roller-coaster sensation. That said, "Torn Apart," which we're premiering here, is one of the more straightforward tracks, with a steady, gritty groove bolted hard to the floor and a jam-session vibe which fits perfectly with this clip's surreal David Lynch-style reverse motion barroom brawl. So with out further ado, it's time to bring out the gimp... and don't forget the rednecks, vikings, wolf-boys and masked wrestlers too. Ready... FIGHT!