The carnival rolls into town once more as Avatar returns to unveil their newest sideshow Hunter Gatherer.
My first introduction to Avatar was at the 2017 Metal Hammer Golden Gods awards and I was instantly struck by their dark cinematic stage presence as well as their metal and roll sound. Since then they have been on a regular rotation so with this being their eighth album, and knowing the unpredictable nature of the band, I couldn’t wait to dive in.
This time around Avatar have reunited with producer Jay Ruston (Stone Sour, Slipknot, Anthrax) at Sphere Studios in Los Angeles, California, where the foundation for each song on Hunter Gatherer was laid with the band performing altogether, as they’d done only once before, on Hail the Apocalypse.
Opener “Silence in the Age of Apes” is an anthemic juggernaut that for the entirety of song keeps your head moving whilst “Colossus” is already an early contender for track of the album. There are so many elements that I love on the track, for instance the old school heavy metal vocal style in the chorus combined with a solid chugging riff throughout.
Things mellow slightly for the start of “A Secret Door” with a whistled melody I guarantee you will find yourself whistling many times throughout the day. The chants and solos then engulf the middle section before things once again err on the serene side. “God of Sick Dreams” is technically savage whilst “Scream Until You Wake” is a genre-splitting paragon.
“Child”, “Justice” and “Gun” serve up a trilogy of varying emotions with the latter being full of delicate piano melodies before we are served up a good serving of throat punching heaviness with “When All But Force Has Failed”.
Lastly, “Wormhole” ominously twists and turns tinged with wonderful melodies emphasizing the individual songs above any overarching story finishing off with Yngwie Malmsteen-worthy solos mixed with some great storytelling.
The darkest, most sinister version of Avatar yet.
Hunter Gatherer will be released on 7th August