Avatar Frontman Explains New Album Wasn’t Meant to be Another Concept Album

Johannes Eckerström, frontman for Swedish metal band Avatar, was recently a guest on nationally syndicated radio show “FullMetalJackie.”

Avatar just wrapped up their first run of touring the band’s seventh studio album Avatar Country, ending Feb. 11 in Grand Rapids. Avatar will tour Europe through March, and the beginning of April before returning to the U.S. for a limited ten show run.

Eckerström on why every song title on the Avatar Country, album has the work “king” worked into it:

I think it speaks for itself: That we are celebrating our mighty king of Avatar Country, who is a glorious king indeed, so glorious that he has seven solos in the first song. There are so many aspects to this king and there are so many different ways of telling his story and so many aspects of him, that you do need a full album. So, that is why yes, you’re right, we have ‘Glory To Our King’, ‘Legend Of The King’, ‘King After King’, ‘King’s Harvest’, ‘The King Speaks’, or my personal favorite title, ‘Silent Songs Of The King Part 1 – Winter Comes When The King Dreams Of Snow’, because there’s so much to him.”

On why the band produced back-to-back concept albums, and if a third is in the works:

“First and foremost, the whole idea when we did ‘Feathers & Flesh’ was that it was not comfortable to do it. We didn’t know exactly how to do one or what it meant to write within a very locked-in concept, which is the original reason why we did so. Then I heard from at least, the more progressive world of music, that’s kind of a cliché almost, that once you start doing concept albums, it’s hard to stop. And this wasn’t meant to be a concept, again, until we realized the time was right for people to learn about our king. Because we have been hinting about the existence of Avatar Country. We have been hinting about the position of our king within the kingdom. For instance, in the new music video [for ‘The King Wants You’] you do see the Avatar Country flag and you did see it onstage. Well, if you looked at some of our earlier albums, you would see that in every thank-you list, we would always give thanks to people and on the last page, as it tends to do, we always gave special thanks to Kungen. ‘Kungen’ is Swedish for ‘The King’. The nature of our king and the timing of it all and what we now have the urge to do, kind of forced us to do something that essentially is a concept album for the second time in a row, but I do not believe that the next album will be one. I believe that will be important to break that pattern because doing a concept album broke the pattern of what we did before. That is what it’s always about for us. We don’t want to repeat ourselves, we don’t want to write the same songs or the same album twice. It’s all about finding new angles and a new way of casting light on what we’re doing.”