Festivals are all about music, seeing bands you love live, but also discovering new bands and seeing what’s up and coming as you never know who you might discover by taking a chance.

Sunday morning at Download offered us the chance to take a punt on a band that’s garnering some buzz lately, namely Avatar (who have nothing to do with James Cameron, 8ft blue people or Sam Worthington). They hail from Sweden, they have a singer that looks like a mash-up of The Crow and the polo mint eye man from the Mighty Boosh, if they had some weird baby and dressed him like Freddie Mercury as a carnival host. Still with me? Good. Basically Avatar, take the Gothenburg sound and run it through the Alice Cooper filter, with an added touch of Carnivale on top.

For the most part it works and they have songs that are both heavy, yet accessible. They also have a playful side to them as well, so they can appeal to people that like In Flames and Soilwork, but also Deathstars and the aforementioned Alice Cooper. Seeing them this early in the morning with a little sleep deprivation behind you is a revelation because you start to think about that kind of thing they could conjure up on a hefty production budget. Sure enough, I imagined them with a full carnival backdrop with a chick spinning on a wheel with someone chucking knifes at her, or maybe that was a dream I had…

But for all the theatrics, which at this stage are still toned down, the reason the crowd is here today is the songs and rightly they open their set with the song that’s receiving heavy rotation on Scuzz right now, ‘Hail the Aapocalypse.’ It was a pretty good indication of the heavier side of the band, whereas tracks like ‘Bloody Angel’ and ‘Smells Like a Freakshow’ offer the more melodic, sing a long moments.

Avatar prove to be a very entertaining and visually interesting band to watch and they do well in their Download debut in front of a more diverse audience than they may be used to. It will be interesting to see how their momentum carries over by the time they hit the main stage at this years Bloodstock Festival in August.

Download Festival – Official Website

Photo credit: Scott Salt