Avatar calls darker feelings off the bench for aggressive new album, 'Hunter Gatherer'

Credit: Johan Carlén

After leaving the magical land of Avatar Country, Avatar is taking a darker turn with Hunter Gatherer.

The latest effort from the Swedish metallers, which dropped in August, is a much more aggressive record than its joyful predecessor. As vocalist Johannes Eckerström tells ABC Audio, Avatar knew they were headed in a darker direction after finishing the Avatar Country cycle.

“We knew going into [Avatar Country], we knew what that was going to be…and what part of us was coming out in that,” Eckerström explains. “So we [thought], ‘OK, we nailed that, felt awesome…next one’s probably gonna be darker and heavier, right?’ ‘Yeah,’ we all said. It was kinda plain and simple.”

The members of Avatar were especially primed to explore those feelings after putting them to the side a bit for Avatar Country.

“I have, and we all, I guess, in the band, have learned to use music — writing, composing, performing — as part of…how we process life,” Eckerström says. “Self-therapy, or whatever you wanna call it”.

“As we did Avatar Country, lots of those aspects of it kind of had to go and sit on the bench, sit out a couple of games there,” he adds.

As Avatar began calling those feelings back up, they knew Hunter Gatherer would only work if they were genuine.

“If it wouldn’t have felt right while we were writing it, it would have started to drift into something else over time,” Eckerström says. “But it stayed consistent that we were very drawn to those things.”

“Turns out we were feeling in a certain way while creating it,” he continues. “So it just had to happen that way.” 

Avatar will perform Hunter Gatherer in full during the first of four online streaming shows, premiering January 9.

By Josh Johnson
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