I have always been a soul that yearned to watch my favorite bands live. There is nothing like hearing the songs that have become the soundtrack to your life performed live. One of the most animated and entertaining bands of present day is Swedish Heavy Metal Band, Avatar. To say the band’s live performance is theatrical would not be giving it justice. Avatar is a band that lands solidly into the “just as good live ” category in my book. You don’t even have to take my word for it, you can hear it for your selves by listening to Avatar’s new live performance album, The King Live in Paris (eOne Heavy).
I have to be honest, most of the time I shy away from live albums. Live recordings always seemed to lack production value and sound quality, this album exceeds any expectation I may have had. The King Live in Paris was recorded in 2017 at the Download Festival in Paris France and frankly, it’s a masterpiece. The album chronicles fictional letters written to a woman named Bernadette from a soldier in the Avatar Country Boot Camp. The letters were found in the pockets of an Avatar Country soldier on the fields of the great battle of Download outside of Paris, France. The album presents it’s self as a concept album, featuring previously released tracks.
The one thing that really impressed me about this album is how the delivery of the lyrics on the live tracks by frontman Johannes Eckerstrom changed the very essence of the songs. That alone is a testament to the depth and talent of the lead singer and the band as a whole. I particularly found this to be true on ‘Statue Of The King’ which was previously released in 2017. The live album opens with this track which sets the mood for the entire album, that mood being energetic hostility. The live album possesses music spanning the band’s career. Eckerstrom describes the album, “it feels more like a document from a pivotal battle than a live album.” The album in its entirety shows flawless conduciveness, which is actually pretty miraculous, considering the album contains songs from different times in the band’s career.
Case in point, the song ‘Smells Like A Freak Show’ off of 2012’s release, Black Waltz (Gain Ground) is a prime example that the band’s goal, even from the early days, was to create uniquely crafted music. If the band had a mission statement, it would probably say something about melting faces and corrupting souls one song at a time. The live version of ‘Let It Burn’ from the same 2012 album really reveals the unbridled passion the band possesses when they play live. The band doesn’t just perform their music, they become it on stage. The second to last track on the live album, ‘Avatar Country’ is also a testament to how much the band loves playing their music live. The band seemed to relax into a mishmash of tongue and cheek and light-hearted tomfoolery with the performance of this song.
Overall, what I loved the most about this live album, is the fact that the band didn’t just get on stage and play their music note for note. The band created a type of synergistic connection with the crowd at the Download Festival that night. The energy the band exuded through their music was matched by the audiences feverish headbanging and showing off the metal horns. Even if you are not a fan of live albums, I urge you to give this one a listen. If you are an Avatar fan, you absolutely need to add this album to your repertoire immediately, do not pass go, do not collect $200, just get the album right meow!
7 / 10