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Comets on Fire - Avatar CD (album) cover

AVATAR

Comets on Fire

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.82 | 18 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Speesh
5 stars Comets on Fire strikes gold again with Avatar, two years after the epic Blue Cathedral. Their sound changes yet again, though its a much more drastic change than we're used to. The band sounds very different from the chaotic energetic sound that was so prevalent on Blue Cathedral and previous releases. However they sound just as good, maybe even better than they did then. Despite the change in sound, they don't lose the atmosphere they created on Blue Cathedral. One of the greatest things about the change in sound is that at the core they still manage to sound like Comets on Fire.

Dogwood Rust is a great opener, it sounds as if it starts out in the middle of the song displaying great energy right away. The dual guitars of Ethan Miller and Ben Chasny introduced on Blue Cathedral sound fantastic and jam throughout the track in all their bluesy glory. Noel von Harmonson joins in with his signature echoplex (he'll showcase his piano talents again as well), but its presence is different on this album. Instead of towering over the rest of the music as it did on previous releases, it is much quieter here and fits in with the other instruments well (with the exception of Holy Teeth). Halfway through the song the tempo slows down and the rhythm section delivers a pounding beat that carries the rest of the song to its finish.

The absence of the menacing sonic walls and electronic effects caused me to notice other great talents the band has to offer when listening to Avatar. For example, Utrillo Kushner's drumming carries these tunes as well as one could ask for. He was great on their previous releases, but here the drumming is very noticeable and one of the strongest points of this future classic album. Absolutely superb. Another thing is the vocal talent of Ethan Miller. They've always sounded distorted or reverberated on other releases, but here they sound much more natural. Especially on quieter tracks like Lucifer's Memory and Hatched Upon the Age they've never sounded better.

Any of the songs featuring Noel von Harmonson's piano playing create an exotic sense of beauty exclusive to Comets on Fire, especially in the strikingly unique and atmospheric Sour Smoke. Holy Teeth with its loud echoplex and noisy guitars does seem to sound a bit out of place on this album, though to me it sounds like a nod to their early garage punk days. But with an updated more progressive edge to it.

When it comes to prog the songwriting is very similar to that of Blue Cathedral, which is great as its very present there. It should satisfy the appetite of even those with a strict textbook definition of prog. It has the tempo changes and extended structures associated with progressive rock, all the while holding a fresh and unique sound.

Recommended to everyone really, fans of harder space rock and bluesy hard rock will certainly not be disappointed.

Speesh | 5/5 |

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