Alcatraz Line up: 2014, 2016, 2019
One of the most eye-catching bands right now is Avatar. Whereas their early years were spent absorbing influences from other bands such as In Flames and At the Gates, they’ve developed their own style by abandoning the melodic death metal approach in favour of a more industrial sound and a visual theatricality reminiscent of Alice Cooper. Avatar really hit their stride on ‘Black Waltz’ (2012) and its successor ‘Hail the Apocalypse’ (2014) turned them into one of the hottest bands around. The traditional costumes, dance moves and solemn gestures add a visual dimension to their shows and the music is catchy to the point where it sticks in your head for days. On ‘Feathers & Flesh’ (2016) Avatar explores new horizons again with mostly clean vocals and more melodic tracks aimed specifically at a live environment. With eccentric band leader and consummate showman/frontman Johannes Eckerström at the helm, the concept album enabled them to move on to bigger venues. With ‘Avatar Country’ (2018) they’ve created their own kingdom, ruled by one king Jonas ‘Kungen’ Jarlsby I. The band have even launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund a featurette film called ‘Legend of Avatar Country’ and funds are pouring in. More than enough reason to invite them for a third stint at Alcatraz prison.