After slogging away for the better part of a decade, producing three albums. the Swedish Metal band Avatar started to get some breaks and make the right moves.
First, the group's "Black Waltz," marked the first appearance of frontman Johannes Eckerstrom's 'Clown' face makeup which became a key visual element.
"Seeing that face, it awakened something that really wasn't there before; or was but was well hidden," commented Eckerstrom. "Suddenly the music got its face." As a result, Avatar started to get a North American audience as they embarked on their first U.S. tour.
Then they landed on Avenged Sevenfold's trek after Device dropped out. Device singer, David Draiman of Distrubed fame, was forced to leave the tour for personal reasons - his wife developed pregnancy complications.
"Hail The Apocalypse" was Avatar's first album to land on the Billboard Top 200 (#97) and it had a far better showing on the Top Hard Rock chart (#6). Though the album only had first week sales of 3,500 copies that was sufficient for another round of U.S. shows both as a supporting act and headliner.
Recorded in Finland, Germany and Sweden, with producer Sylvia Massy, who famously commented that Eckerstrom had a "wild energy and charisma," Avatar released "Feathers & Flesh." The '16 concept album was about an "owl who goes to war against the world."
The lead single was "The Eagle Has Landed" though the storyline was introduced on "House Of Eternal Hunt" which introduces 'The Owl', the protagonist. The band described the song as "the definition of Metal."
2006 Thoughts Of No Tomorrow
2012 Black Waltz
2014 Hail The Apocalypse
2016 Feathers & Flesh