AVATAR – A ROMANIAN BAND THAT GOT OUT OF THE SHELL
Avatar – the Romanian death metal born in 1996 in Craiova with an impressive musical background:
Pendulum, single, 2008, Metalfan Records Division
Tentacles, EP, 2006, Metalfan Records Division
Live On Mozartstrasse, live, 2005, Axa Valaha (opening act for Behemoth in Salzburg and the first ever official live release in the Romanian death metal history)
Cyclops, promo, 2005, Axa Valaha
The Alchemist, LP, 2000, Bestial Records
Holy Infection, demo, 1997
Orgiastic Ceremony, demo, 1996
These past days we had a chat with Marius Popeanga, Avatar’s vocals and we found out a few interesting things about the band’s upcoming album, recently finished in Antfarm Studios (Denmark)
What is Avatar now after 13 years of existence?
It’s been already 13 years? Quite a while and apparently we didn’t achieve very much. On a second thought, maybe we managed to eliminate the gap that separated us – a band coming from Romania, one of the underdeveloped countries in Europe – and the civilized world where metal genre is not looked at with fear. Meanwhile, Romania remained an underdeveloped country and Avatar is about to release an album that seems to be part of a different motion picture.
According to your recent statements, you finalized the recording to your latest musical creation "Subjects of the Same Suffering”. Can you tell us more about the technical background?
Of course. "SSS” is the result of a combination of genuine Romanian improvisation coming from Oltenia and the professionalism of the Western Europe. We started the recordings of the album in March 2009 in our rehearsal room, with the engineering support of Marius Costache. We added some more equipment from our friends, especially from Nexus, thus we managed to successfully record all the music in Craiova. When we came to vocals, we went to Taine Studios (Bucharest), then we copied everything on a USB stick and sent it to Denmark to Tue Madsen’s Antfarm Studios.
Why did you decide to master the material abroad?
It’s not just the master, but rather mixing, which is actually essential. It was our clear intention from the very beginning that both the mix and the master be made by someone who has actually extensive knowledge in working with major bands. Therefore, Marius Costache suggested we should approach Tue Madsen, the same guy who worked with bands like Heaven Shall Burn, Dark Tranquillity, Konkhra, Ektomorf, Benea Reach, Moonspell, Hatesphere, Gorefest and many, many more. Thanks to Alexandru "Tzugu” Dumitrescu (Metalfan), we managed to cover Madsen’s support and so the sound of this album can actually bear the signature of an exceptional sound engineer.
Why this title "Subjects of the Same Suffering” and what should the audience expect to?
"Subjects of the same suffering” is part of the lyrics of the opening song ‘To Kill a King’. After long discussions, we came to the conclusion that this is the best way to define the concept behind the music and lyrics. This title defines the prevailing spirit of rebellion, but somehow also expresses the strong relationship between the five musicians who worked on this album. Those who will listen to this product should expect to something really extraordinary, no matter if they actually like it or not.
From the conceptual standpoint, does the new album follow the same line as the one before? Or is it all new and fresh both as music and themes approached?
Musically speaking, this album continues our inclination for less traditional approach of death metal, but in a more brutal and energetic manner than on "Tentacles”. "SSS” is like a march accompanied by a war machine. The novelty in lyrics is that we chose less raving but still poetical words to express the need to radically change the unusual order of things.
What is the state of mind of the band after finishing the album and what are the future plans?
We are proud of the result even if we have only the feedback from our friends so far. Moreover, we gained an important experience we can use in our favor in the future. The album will soon reach the most important labels in the world and we hope it will convince someone eventually that it’s worthy of attention and become accessible to as many people as possible.
Can you tell us anything about the official release and promotion?
The official release is planned for this fall and we have many ideas for promotion, but we want to do something special. You will all find out at the right moment.
What do you think about the impact of the album in Romania?
It’s most likely the impact will be either zero or close. Eventually, some people will show up to the official release, we will give a good performance, about 30 people will buy the CD and some merchandise and then everything will fall back in the traditional local indifference. It will be fun!
Besides music, what happened to Avatar band members?
Well, the band members lead fortunately a pretty calm life, that gave us the necessary balance to work on this album and that is visible. You probably ask me this so I can say that I have recently become a dad, right? Hahaha! Well, yes, it’s true, in June my wife gave birth to our strong and healthy boy, Sasha. We are now two dads in Avatar. The elder one is Marian, whose son Mihai starts first year at school this fall.
Do you think that personal responsibilities can affect the natural evolution of the band?
No way. Marian has been a dad for the last 7 years and he has always been loyal to the band. We just need to understand that some aspects of our lives do not exclude others, but fill in the big picture. We look for as much personal satisfaction as we can get and that brings more joy for playing our music.
Any final encouraging message?
Yeah, Go Romania! Haha! And believe in good music as it saves us from the daily misery!
DAN SCURTU – guitars
CATA DIACONU- guitars
CATALIN BRINZAN – bass
MARIAN CALIN – drums
MARIUS POPEANGA – vocals
Black Defender, October 2009