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Avatar at Saint Andrews Hall, 3 Things To Know

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

Posted: Wednesday, February 7, 2018

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Do not confuse Avatar Country with Pandora, the land depicted in the 2009 film “Avatar.”

“Avatar Country” is both the title of the seventh album from the Swedish heavy metal band Avatar as well as a mythological place the group celebrates over the course of the 10-song set -- including the epic “Legend Of The King” and the call-to-arms “The King Wants You.” The quintet, which has been together since 2001, is clearly milking it for all it’s worth, but frontman Johannes Eckerstrom proves to be a worth ambassador who makes Avatar Country sound pretty appealing...

• According to Eckerstrom, 31, Avatar Country is “all the stuff of a nation, but our nation is not chained down by the oppressive chains of geography. So the easiest way to describe our state for most people would be a state of mind, but make no mistake that wherever our king touches ground it becomes Avatar Country -- for the night if nothing else.”

• “Avatar Country,” which debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard Independent Album charts (“and No. 1 on the King chart,” according to Eckerstrom) is the follow up to 2016’s “Feathers & Flesh,” an ambitious concept album based on “a piece of fiction” Eckerstrom wrote, with a message about “failure, loss, fear and death.” For “Avatar Country,” he explains by phone, “we wanted to make something that was a reaction to what we did last time, so we wanted to write about our king. We wanted to be about strength, victory, life -- a much more positively charged thing. It’s extremely inspired, which is why it all happened so fast. Once we figure, ‘OK, it’s time open the borders and speak the truth of our king,’ the writing and recording was just a breeze compared to other times. This was less exploring and more just doing.”

• So if Avatar Country was in the Olympics, what would be its best sports? “Our king is a fairly athletic person who would be, I think, superior in many sports,” Eckerstrom predicts. “I think beach volleyball because our king would completely crush all competition in that. He wouldn’t need a team around him. Actually, the album itself could compete; We would throw a couple of CDs out there and probably win the ice hockey medal.”

If You Go:

• Avatar, The Brains and Hellzapoppin

• Wednesday, Feb. 7. Doors open at 6 p.m.

• Saint Andrews Hall, 431 E. Congress St, Detroit.

• Tickets are $19 in advance, $25 day of show.

• Call 313-961-8137 or visit saintandrewsdetroit.com.

Web Site: www.saintandrewsdetroit.com

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