While we were all locked down in isolation, baking banana bread and binge-watching Netflix, Alienist …
The Fire I Long For is the fourth studio album from soulful doom band Avatarium.
Since forming in 2012 the Swedish group have received a laudable amount of acclaim for their enticing confluence of genre influences. The Fire I Long For follows their 2017 release Hurricanes And Halos and marks some significant changes for the band.
Avatarium begun as a collaboration between Leif Edling [of Candlemass] and guitarist Marcus Jidell, but The Fire I Long For is the first album on which Edling has stepped away from the limelight having contributed to the writing process. Furthermore, this album welcomes new drummer Andreas ‘Habo’ Johansson.
The Fire I Long For marks a move away from the folky-prog-psychedelic end of the spectrum of Avatarium’s sound and a closer embracing of their doom and blues flavour, which provides a more complex and multi-layered vehicle for their emotional existential themes.
The Fire I Long For marks a move away from the folky-prog-psychedelic end of the spectrum of Avatarium’s sound and a closer embracing of their doom and blues flavour, which provides a more complex and multi-layered vehicle for their emotional existential themes. The questions of life and meaning and crisis are introduced from the beginning, in opening track Voices, which is tangibly darker and edgier, aided by a vintage stain and thicker riffing. Jennie-Ann Smith’s voice is sublime throughout the album; on tracks such as Rubicon she delivers entrancing melodies, alongside a powerful blues-shot delivery. Avatarium’s inclination to the blues becomes stormy and tempestuous in Lay Me Down, before the midsection of The Fire I Long For really maxes out the doom-rooted heaviness in hints of black magic and a gripping extended solo with Porcelain Skull, Great Beyond and the title track. This epic scale doom-blues run of tracks is given a shot of pace and energy part way through with Shake That Demon, leading The Fire I Long For well paced. Epitaph Of Heroes provides a satisfyingly idiosyncratic song, in keeping with the doom genre’s capacity to facilitate quirky character songs.
Closing with a jazz-inspired piano ballad in Stars They Move, The Fire I Long For is a moody deepening of Avatarium’s sound and it is a seductive direction for the band. If Hurricanes And Halos felt like Avatarium was really hitting stride and finding their sound amidst their variety of influences, The Fire I Long For has done it, and done it depth and passion.
STANDOUT TRACKS: Porcelain Skull, Great Beyond, The Fire I Long For
STICK THIS NEXT TO: Candlemass, Paradise Lost, Lacuna Coil