Avatarium - The Fire I Long For

Avatarium The Fire I Long For cover
The Fire I Long For
Nuclear Blast
Avatarium are a side project of Candlemass mastermind, Leif Edling, who pretty much took a life of their own after their debut was met with a fair bit of success. The albums that followed up still featured Edling, but his involvement was more limited, due to his battle with exhaustion, after years on the road that manifested psychosomatically. He didn’t tour with the band however; in fact he didn’t even tour with Candlemass during that time. With the bulk of duties of the band relegated to Marcus Jidell, he along with his wife, Jennie Ann Smith, took over the band more or less and Endling bowed out, prior to the release of their fourth album “The Fire I Long For”.
While this newest creation might not be able to challenge the primacy of the album debut with its erebidian drowning dark riffs and outworldly atmosphere, it comes close enough and does a much better job representing the band than its two predecessors.
While the disassociation from Edling is a bad thing, I think that overall the album doesn’t suffer particularly from his absence, as Jidell is able to conjure up still gargantuan doomy riffs, maybe a tad more hard rock inspired than purely metallic at times – but always convincing, while JA Smith, just keeps emanating that effortless, eerily cool but also completely sinful and wicked tone that is described as “dark gospel”… which I suppose is not a half as bad description of what’s going on.
“Voices” bubbles away slowly in a way that just works perfectly – a tune that wouldn’t have felt out of place on the debut. It’s a safe Candlemass with a girl sort of tune that’s unlikely to go down the wrong way, given how well the debut was received.
“Rubicon” is a little pacier, and like its predecessor it reminded me of a time when Lake Of Tears where transitioning and releasing some of their better albums, many years ago… it’s a more experimental, poppier tune that Ann Smith, almost single-hande(a)dly, sells.
“Lay Me Down” is a drawn out, deathly blues ballad, which is not as slow as you might expect, but is pretty interesting either way.
“Porcelain Skull” manages to encompass both epic doomy riffs as well as a quirkier, more straightforward chorus that works as a counterweight. Its evocative solo also scores it some extra points.
“Shake that Demon” has a nice riff, but it’s a bit too Purple for my tastes, not that I would usually take issue with anything like that, it’s just that I don’t think it gels well with the rest of the material, being considerably faster and just not as heavy. It doesn’t quite belong.
“Great Beyond” is a slightly more psych-ed out tune, which slows down things nicely, for the eponymous, lamenting half ballad, “The Fire I Long For” to emerge nicely… with its smooth lines and its interesting chorus that interestingly interjects with the songs main melody, giving birth to something quite special.
“Epitaph of Heroes” manages to maintain a balance between sounding heroically doomy and tormentingly lyrical.
Last but not least – while “Stars They Move” is not as cool as say, “Lady in the Lamp”, dwells in similar territory and inspires similar sentiments as well, with the naked beauty of its arrangement simply taking ones breath away.
Avatarium, even Edlingless, recover their mojo and continue their journey into the dark unknown, breathing it in and filling up the void with divine harmonies. Spellbinding…