A to Z blogging challenge – my first year participating!

#AtoZChallenge 2021 badge

OK I hope I don’t screw this up. You’d really think that I would be able to figure this thing out, since I have been blogging since maybe 2002? I think that was it, when I had an old Diary-x blog. Wow, right?

Anywho, I didn’t choose a theme when I first signed up but I do believe I will choose to explore bands I love with each letter and discuss why and my history with them. Shouldn’t be too hard, right?

A for Avatar

Around 2018 I discovered this Swedish band and I don’t even know how, to be honest. Perhaps in the circles I travel that had to do with Ghost, another Swedish band, I found these dudes. They are from different locations in the country and apparently the Gothenburg scene is very different than Stockholm metal scene. The thing that drew me to them were their theatrics, In much the same way as Ghost had thematic elements, Avatar had a theme for each album, ranging from Freak show/Circus types to a concept album about an owl who seeks to stop the sun from rising, to an entire album developed around Avatar Country, complete with a story about the king. It is this drama that I found even more interesting than some of the songs! But the music compelled me too. I guess they’d be defined as metal but are so much more.

Not that you can trust Wikipedia but they are defined as heavy metal, groove metal, melodic death, or industrial. I think they are, at any given time, any and all of those things. Some songs are very slow and melodic while others are hard and crunching, insanely fast and deep. Something I do enjoy is the balance in each song. There are times when Johannes, their singer, is growling on one end and screaming on the other, before launching into a very clear chorus. It is not often you cannot understand the words, which is a pet peeve of mine in metal. I do like certain bands with the typical metal growl that is nearly unintelligible but at the same time, I yearn for a balance.

I am going to share two songs that I feel like define them in their different ways.

In September 2019, I had the privilege of seeing them live in Pensacola; convenient since my parents live there. It was my oldest son’s turn for a concert (I try to take turns if they are interested in attending) so we drove over there and met up with a woman I met on an Avatar Facebook group. The show itself was amazing: in a venue that housed no more than 500 people and as you can see from the photo above, we were CLOSE. It was so awesome being in their presence and feeling like we knew each other, as silly as that sounds. When you love a band and know all their songs and watch youtube videos and interviews, you feel a sort of kinship to them and being able to be in that room with them and graced by their talent was an experience beyond measure.

However, it got even better afterwards. I knew from forums and whatnot that they are notoriously kind to fans and will sign autographs after the show. So we waited outside the venue for about 30 or so minutes and one by one, the band members emerged, clean and changed out of their concert garb, and made their way to the tour bus. First, their bassists Henrik. While I did not take a picture with him, because I was nervous to ask, I did get him to sign my battle jacket. Another fan kindly handed me his silver Sharpie You can see below the photo of myself being blinded by my son not knowing to turn the flash off. Then the other pics are of him meeting the guys, which I just thought was awesome. The original pic of him and Johannes, the guy was normal but then as I took it, he decided to “scare” my son. That is just like Johannes, honestly. He and I have a nice little chat about the quote on his trading card (that they give you when you buy stuff from their store). It says he still believes pro wrestling is real and since I am a fan, we had a little conversation. It was so awesome meeting the guys and they were nice and calm. Of course, no one was out their fangirling or screaming either.

This is by far one of my favorite bands and they consistently put out good music. With concerts starting up again, I hope I’ll be able to see them again, especially if they go to Pensacola again. They put out this companion novel for the Feathers and Flesh album, which is a book of poems that Johannes based the songs on. He wrote them all and got someone to do artwork for it. I stupidly forgot it last time and could have had them sign that! So the plan is to bring it next time. And there WILL be a next time!

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