After the extensive hype following the first two singles, Avatar have finally dropped their much-anticipated eighth studio album.
Despite the tragedy and turmoil surrounding 2020 thus far, it is undeniable that the year has proven one of the best yet when it comes to the metal scene. From Lamb Of God to Gojira, Trivium to Testament, the industry has blossomed with the incredible new albums- however, none seem to have captured attention quite as well as Avatar.
Just two years since the release of one of their most successful albums to date, Avatar Country, the band’s latest release has taken the music scene by storm and has the potential to be steering the band in a new direction.
Providing their signature sound, embellished with a new, more commercialised undertone, Hunter Gatherer offers a fresh perspective into Avatar’s discography.
Opening with the first initial single, ‘Silence In The Age Of Apes’, the album erupts into life, providing the distinctive heaviness and technical precision that the band are famed upon. As mentioned in our review of the single earlier this year, the track draws parallels to Avatar’s notorious 2012 album, Black Waltz with their ferocious vocals and thrash-inspired riffs that demand unwavering attention.
Fiercely loyal to their sound and truly honing in on what they do best, tracks ‘Colossus’, ‘Justice’ and ‘When All But Force Has Failed’ remain the standout songs on the album- perfectly balancing the band’s unchallenged force alongside a refreshing, more mainstream sound.
Although the majority of the album conforms to what was expected from the band, multiple aspects of each track hint towards a new direction in the future.
Brief moments of Doom metal in the closing track, ‘Wormhole’ and slight suggestions of Punk in ‘Child’ suggest that the Swedish band are looking to broaden their horizons with their upcoming work.
Opting for a more mainstream approach to the album, the majority of the tracks appear to follow a lot more accessible route in both their structure and sound. For instance, both ‘God Of Sick Dreams’ and ‘Scream Until You Wake’ detour away from Avatar’s distinctive theatricality in exchange for a more generic, Iron Maiden-based approach.
Whilst this might feel like Avatar are ‘selling-out’ their signature sound for something more commercially accessible- especially when paired alongside the emotional, cliché ballad, ‘Gun’, it seems more likely that the band are instead trying to use the album to bring a more mature aspect into their music.
As to the album as a whole? Hunter Gatherer, by all means, remains unquestionably Avatar, with tracks such as ‘Silence In The Age Of Apes’ and ‘When All But Force Has Failed’ mirroring their earlier hits from Black Waltz.
Yet, for those devoted fans of the band, the album generally seems to steer the band in a new direction, hinting that a more refined and stripped back future is on the horizon. For now though, the album remains a strong competitor alongside the rest of the band’s discography and is the perfect gateway album for classic metal fans to enter the chaotic world of Avatar.
Hunter Gatherer is out now via Entertainment One Music and available on all streaming platforms.