Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating 9/10
Beauty without arrogance must be allowed room to be savoured, the sense of the silence at the heart of the tornado, the whisper of love between two angels and a well thought of demon, beauty must be seen but not worshipped, it must be cared for but not taken for granted and once it has the attention of all who see it for the natural state it is, then no matter what, no matter the demon and the angel involved, what you have is Hurricanes And Halos and both are as attractive as each other and both startle when confronted for the first time.
For Avatarium, the join between the two is wafer thin, the sense of two powerful images, one a wind that can take life, the other a symbol of iconography, of belief, both though interchangable and depending on your belief, just as destructive.
It is the jumping in at the deep end, the cascade of stunning vocals supplied with absolute passion by Jennie-Ann Smith and given creedence in the silent tornado by Marcus Jidell, Lars Sköld, Mats Rydström and Richard Nilsson that the tracks on Hurricanes And Halos are so dynamic, so haunting and creatively beautiful that they stand up to the acid test of not being worshipped but with confidence and assuredness, they are respected.
The spell weaved on the band’s album is like stepping into that hirricane, unafraid, unconquorable but devout in the phenomenon that you see once in the eye of the needle; the halo that swirls around you, that you see not a god but nature at its most fearsome, at its most forceful and absolutely persuasive.
In tracks such as The Starless Sleep, Road To Jerusalam, the epic The Sky at the Bottom of the Sea, A Kiss (From the End of the World) and the album title track Hurricanes and Halos, the rise in the stomach felt is one of living with grief, of the passion in the story and the honour having lived the story, the remarkable and passionate; something that Jennie-Ann Smith brings with huge effect to the musical narrative.
A class album, one of power and beauty, Hurricanes And Halos is a blistering album of strength.
Ian D. Hall