In 2018, you will know more about Avatar, and Avatar Country than you would ever expect to. Just a few weeks ago, the group released their new video for "A Statue of the King," which was an inside look into how Avatar Country operates, and how they worship The King. They're now following it up with an even more exhilarating watch with "The King Wants You," which is exclusively premiering right here at Loudwire.

In contrast to the prior song released, "The King Wants You" has the band delivering pretty much a straight up hard rock track. The opening riff is infectious but heavy, showing what their groovier metal sounds like when it becomes a texture for rock. Visually we follow a major piece of Avatar lore, a moment in time when usurpers actually dared to defy The King, and the aftermath of this choice.

It's another entry into the world that will comprise Avatar Country. In advance of this video release, we spoke to lead vocalist Johannes Eckerstrom about the new video, and what non citizens should expect from living in Avatar Country. The album is out Jan. 12, and you can pre-order it digitally here or physically via the band's website.

Can you tell me a little bit about what living in Avatar Country is like?

The short answer would be that Avatar Country is pure metal bliss. One of the big reasons is our biggest export is metal. We have unique metal mines, and metal mining technology in Avatar Country. And speaking of that, it’s not that there’s a lack of great metal in the rest of the world, there’s been some good quality and we all purchased a good chunk of British Steel 35 years ago, and we’re still putting it to good use. But you know, it’s always about finding new veins in the mountains, and it’s about finding your own shape. And that’s what we have in Avatar Country.

The history of the nation is a bit complicated. The United States and most of the planet are entering the year 2018 next year. That will be in China, The Year of The Dog for instance. There are a couple of different ways of counting years, Muslim and Jewish ways that differ vastly from the ways we commonly use today of the Christian origin. In Avatar Country however, while it is the year of The Dog in China it is The Year of The King in Avatar Country. It’s just that this year was also the year of The King, and last year was the year of the King. Every year in Avatar Country is The Year of The King. So if you try to approach and discover our historical documents, you dust them off from the shelf and you’d read “On April the 2nd in the year of The King, our lord and master faced…” what have you. The document, it might look old but it could be from this year, or it could be from 300 years ago. We’re not sure. As far back as any citizen can remember, The King has always been The King. The elderly don’t remember anyone before that.

We do go through myths on the album like “King After King” about this specific mystery and legend. At some point, The King did fall in battle, and according to his wishes was buried next to soldiers. His horse rode up into the mountains, and at dawn returned The King, which begs the question, “Who did we bury?” We all saw The King die, we mourned him. We didn’t mourn him for more than a night before he returned. Cloning? Secret twin? Or resurrection? Most of the researchers lean towards resurrection.

We’re very well aware in Avatar Country that our king is the origin of many myths and legends. We can presume that other stories of resurrection are directly ripped off from The King. So we look back, where do we know resurrection stories in history? Well, there’s biblical stories so that would make The King 2000 years old or more, in order to inspire a story like that. Going back further, stories of resurrection in Egypt. So, The King must be older than that. And the way we count time outside of Avatar Country. You know how great music can seemingly warp time for you? How a 20-minute song can feel like it’s over in the blink of an eye? Or in the case of a catchy, three-minute tune and how it can seem to envelop your whole life, and carry so much meaning with you? Time can stretch in both directions for music. So then imagine a country that is solely built where the basic elements of the country, in its water and trees are built by this great music. Metal is music that moves at high speeds, so we have a difficult time tracking time to begin with.

Amazing. So, how can your average American citizen like myself immigrate to Avatar Country? Is there a way to do so?

Well, to immigrate can be tricky, again it takes a certain level of spiritual maturity. Avatar Country is not held down by the shackles of geography. The geography of Avatar Country is quite complicated, it’s a tricky place to pinpoint on a map. Obviously it is very real, it has a flag and if you see our music video for “Statue of The King,” you can see that it’s a very real place. The unveiling of The Statue of The King takes place in the town square. However, you can be an expat, a citizen of Avatar Country, we’re working on the homepage as we speak. And The King Wants You -- you, specifically, to become a citizen of Avatar Country. So we’re working on that as we speak. And of course, Avatar Country accepts dual, triple citizenships. You don’t need to give up your American citizenship to become an Avatar citizen.

Wow. So Avatar Country can truly unite everybody, regardless of where they were born or what they look like.

Absolutely, if you’re in the right frame of mind which we believe anyone can be, then you would feel right at home. It would help if you enjoy doing push ups to Manowar and swinging a jug to Black Sabbath. That would not hurt, at all.

It’s such a great place to live. You know, we get asked a lot by non-citizens, and understandably that the idea of having a king is a form of totalitarian leadership. And we live in an era where we’re trying all different forms of democracy in the rest of the world. But here’s the thing, which should tell you something about the state of Avatar Country: we could have elections, but that would just be a waste of a good afternoon that you could take off and go for a hike instead. We’re the only nation where the leader does have a genuine approval rating of 100 percent. So why waste time on the democratic process on having an election when we all know already the outcome?

It sounds like The King is truly the first benevolent dictator. Or would you consider him one? It’s a loaded phrase, I know.

Well, exactly, it’s a charged word, and I don’t know if there’s a word, currently my language skills are limited to English, German and Swedish, so I don’t know what other word than “King” I would use, but they are all very charged for different reasons. The thing is though, a dictator dictates, hence the word. But The King is a more curious case, the will of The King is the will of the people. There’s such a strong tie between The King and the people, he inspires them for greatness, the people inspire him for greatness. Therefore, he doesn’t really need to carry out big orders for people to follow his will, it comes very naturally. We love our king, and he loves us, so it’s mutual. It’s destiny, he brought sound to a silent place. He brought the heavy metal bliss, and now we have Avatar Country.

Beautiful. So exactly what are we seeing in the video for “The King Wants You”?

The video is the documentation of Avatar Country in the time of war. Therefore it’s a sad and disturbing, violent story that’s coming across. Because the thing is even though the forces of Avatar, it’s not about an attacking force, it’s about defending what is true and pure from those who intend to destroy it. Therefore sadly, Avatar Country can be pulled into a war. We showed the historically accurate events of what happened to our King in such times of war. It’s a great insight to the inner-workings of our nation as well, its architecture and visual side that we want non-citizens to experience. And of course at the core of it is The King wants you, to stand up for what you believe in of course, but he wants you for what you are and what you can be, and your potential. He wants you to be all the things you can be. They are the core of the idea of the song, told through tragedy.

Why would someone ever want to declare war on Avatar Country?

Why would any person ever want to destroy something beautiful? That is a very good question, and one the people of Avatar Country are trying to understand. It’s one of the mysteries of this world, of the human race. I would love to know the answer to that so we can really get to the heart of things, but sometimes these things just happen. Sometimes people just want to hear DJs instead of musicians.

Check out Avatar's "The King Wants You" video in the player above and look for Avatar County available in stores and online Jan. 12. And stay tuned for more of our interview with Avatar's Johannes Eckerstrom to come. To learn more about the upcoming disc and check in on the band's touring, head over to

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