Avatar Channel David Lynch and Jordan Peele In Their Music Video for “A Secret Door”

Pistenwolf, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
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Swedish genre-defiers Avatar have always had a taste for the strange and unusual. One only has to listen to their buoyant mixture of death metal, folk metal, nu-metal, and circus music to hear how committed these guys are to leaving audiences bewildered and unsettled. Now, the band appear to have gone all-out with their new music video for “A Secret Door.”

From the get-go, “A Secret Door” presents several different visual inspirations, from Twin Peaks to Alice In Wonderland. But one of the most significant appears to be Jordan Peele’s Us, as evidenced by the central theme of a ballerina being puppeteered — and physically abused — by her evil twin dancing above her. Meanwhile, frontman Johannes Eckerström is in his most resplendent harlequin make-up, going through various pastoral scene that all seem to feature him being victimized by the other members of the band. It’s a video that feels as though it’s packed with loaded meanings, though if you don’t want to dig too deep into them, it still offers a treat for the eyes the whole time.

Check out Avatar’s “A Secret Door” below:

For Johannes, the visual element of Avatar — specifically his clown make-up — are important to the band’s identity. Though his ringmaster persona emerged almost accidentally, it immediately became part of how he understood the band’s music.

“That didn’t come into play until after the album was finished musically,” Johannes explains to The Pit. “I was just supposed to be the clown in the music video for ‘Black Waltz,’ but at the time we had just been trying to figure out a cover for the album, some cool artwork. We were just experimenting, and this was just a happy accident. John [Alfredsson, drums], during the shooting of the video, just yelled, ‘Shoot some pictures, NOW!’ and I just kept doing improv in front of a camera. I found myself there, and there was a strong sensation of, ‘Oh, there I am! Oh, this is what our music looks like!’”


Words by Chris Krovatin