Live Review of Avatar’s Upstate New York Headliner

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Upstate New York’s own Bogies hosted Avatar on October 18th. The five-piece band hails from Sweden and were currently on a North American tour when they stopped in to crush the concertgoers of Downtown Albany. While not necessarily a household name in the metal scene, Avatar has seen a growing cult following amongst their most die hard fans, which could be seen in full force when they performed at the legendary venue.

Opening the night were Clifton Park natives Breathe the Skyline. The six-piece band first started fairly recently, however they have been relentless in getting their name out there and kids into the pit. Utilizing the multi-vocalist shtick that has been gaining a lot of popularity in the scene, especially with the success of bands like Volumes, Breathe the Skyline seem to use in well and bring about an interesting set that is bound to get the traditional and “djent” crowds to move their feet.

Next up for the night were thrashers Straight Through Sanity. While detracting a bit from the more contemporary and heavier sound that filled the rest of the lineup, Straight Through Sanity brought an old school vibe with them that made everyone headbang their lives away. The thrash influence of bands like Metallica, Anthrax, and Testament to name a few, were prevalent the entire set and while the genre has seen a decline in recent years, that didn’t stop the four-piece from destroying Bogies for a solid 20 minutes.

After Straight Through Sanity, King Pariah took the stage and made it theirs. The four-piece death metal band, also from the Capital District, brought the crowd along a twisted and riff-fueled ride for their set that did not disappoint. Think of the fast and deep vocal styles of Whitechapel’s Phil Bozeman meet the crushing brutality of death metal kings, Cattle Decapitation, and you have King Pariah, albeit with their own original no-holds-barred sound. Though not necessarily part of their sound, King Pariah was particularly interesting as their only guitarist looked decades older than his fellow band members, presumably he was one of the member’s father or other relative, however he still ripped as if he was one of his younger counterparts.

Alongside the multi-vocalist shtick, keyboards have made their way into a lot of metal bands, typically amongst the more technical and ‘atmospheric’-style reared bands. Spire is one of the bands and they utilized the extra instrument impressively with vocalist/keyboardist Jesse Peacemaker slaying both the keys and uncleans. Having been around for over a decade, Spire has yet to see big mainstream success, however their live show prevails amongst the metal elites and were arguably the most impressive and fun bands to play the whole night. Switching from brutal riffs to dazed and spaced out cleans, Spire showed themselves to be a very diverse band that doesn’t shy away from experimenting with they technical sound.

Direct support for Avatar were also Capital District natives, Declension. What was presumably a somber show for them, as this was their vocalist Robbie’s last show with them, was less-than boring for the audience at Bogies. Fusing influence for all over the metal spectrum, Declension was a full on adrenaline rush. While not exactly the most technical of bands, their bassist was the most interesting member, as he was the only bassist of the night to use a seven-string bass (how anyone would ever need more than six on a bass, I do not know). While this didn’t limit or enhance his performance, it was eye-catching to say the least and awesome to watch him tear it up on stage.

Avatar are a band that doesn’t need an introduction. They take you in and won’t let you go until your face has been melted and you start speaking Swedish. Though not necessarily part of the whole “mask-erade” clan that has dominated metal for past two decades with bands like: Slipknot, Mushroomhead, and Marilyn Manson, the members in Avatar do don outfits and look as if they are sinister carnies meets Hell’s marching band. Frontman Johannes wore his signature red jacket and infamous makeup. Their getup, however, did not detract them away from their metal roots. The Swedes destroyed Bogies the only way they know how and had everyone in the crowd experiencing their own metal freak show. Another great night for metal at Bogies.

Review and photos by Danny Medina

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