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Five Albums That Changed My Life: Johannes Eckerström of Avatar

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This week, Swedish metallers Avatar released ‘Black Waltz,’ the group’s first album officially released to U.S. audiences. The band’s eclectic mix of death metal, industrial and melodic rock is in full display on the record, making it one of early 2012′s most refreshing listening experiences. Avatar are setting their sights on America right now, so expect a tour announcement very shortly. Till then, vocalist Johannes Eckerström took some time out to become the latest musician to take part in Noisecreep’s ‘Five Albums That Changed My Life’ series.

‘Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,’ The Beatles (1967)

“My dad was kind enough to feed me this as I was a kid. It’s actually impossible to pick which Beatles album that meant the most to me. The early records alongside footage of the fab four waiving to massive audiences at airports really shaped me into thinking ‘that looks like a fun job’. I still to this day go back to what they did when I need inspiration. ‘Sgt Pepper’ also has one of those songs that candidates to be the best in the world: ‘A Day in the Life.’”

‘Keeper of the Seven Keys Pt. 2,’ Helloween (1988)

“I was 12-years-old. We were on our way home from family vacation when I finally gathered courage to aks my older brother if I could borrow one of his CDs. He told me to start out with this one and so I did. It was then and there when I decided never to cut my hair again. The energy… At this age I was heading into a phase where music started to feel more real than the actual world around me. Helloween was something I fled into whenever I needed to regroup.”

‘The Haunted Made Me Do It,’ The Haunted (2000)

“I didn’t know anything about the so called Gothenburg scene or the Gothenburg sound. I had never heard At the Gates or anything else like that. Through an older friend I was just getting into more old school stuff, when the song ‘Hollow Ground’ was on one of those sample albums you get with some magazines. More than any other band, The Haunted influenced me to want to do extreme music in a direct, melodic and (dare I say?) catchy way. With time I discovered the history of the band and their local colleagues, but to this date, made me do it is still my favorite.”

‘Physicist,’ Devin Townsend (2000)

“I discovered this on the same sample album as The Haunted. ‘Physicist’ was the first thing I heard by Devin Townsend. Since then he has influenced me on so many levels, but mainly because in his work, there doesn’t seem to be any limits. He works with the songs and productions as a whole in a way that makes his albums so much richer than anyone else. He follow his heart and walks his own way and therefore I respect him as he keeps on surprising the listener with every new release. He’s also a really funny guy.”

‘Sabbath Bloody Sabbath,’ Black Sabbath (1973)

“Every time I listen to this album it takes me right back to where I want to be with Avatar’s music. The combination of great art and poetry at the same time as it’s to the point and in your face. It’s heavy without trying to hard, progressive in the true sense of the word. It’s the perfect album. A sweet ride, and in the end, that’s what it’s all about.”

Avatar’s ‘Black Waltz’ is available now via eOne. Pick up the album here.

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