Swedish metalers Avatar invaded New York City while on tour in support of their brand new album Feathers & Flesh. The crowd gave them a very warm welcome as it marks their headlining return after first coming to New York in 2014.

The band cranked out new tracks like “House of Eternal Hunt," “For the Swarm,” “Tooth, Beak & Claw” and “The Eagle Has Landed,” just to name a few. The new album is a concept one based on an original fable from the mind of the band. Frontman Johannes Eckerstrom is the charismatic and unrelenting leader of the vivacious extravaganza. The spectacle that is Avatar is filled with shredding riffs and infectious anthems.

This group of Swedes can headbang with the best of them, and the intimate crowd at Highline Ballroom broke their necks to favorites “Hail the Apocalypse,” “Smells Like a Freakshow,” “Vultures Fly” and “Let it Burn.” Experiencing Avatar in concert is as close as you can get to seeing a metal musical live. Anyone who knows of Avatar knows that their music takes you on a wild ride, their vivid performance intensely personifies the music and brings it to life.

California band Sunflower Dead opened the show and came alive onstage. The band is touring in promotion of their latest album, It’s Time to Get Weird. Singer Michael Del Pizzo graced the stage in face paint with his trusty accordion. The band as a whole brings a unique experience and they’re not afraid to get up close and personal with the crowd. Sunflower Dead bring a creepy good time, so when they come to town be prepared to get a little weird … in a good way.

We also had the opportunity to take photos of both bands backstage, putting on their makeup, curling mustaches, combing out beards and much more. Check out photos of the behind the scenes antics and the performances in our gallery above!

Watch Avatar’s Johannes Eckerstrom Discuss Dimebag Darrell