Thursday, October 9, 2014
Atriarch: An Unending Pathway
This is the band's first album for Relapse Records and they haven't dramatically altered their sound for the move. The biggest difference between this album and "Ritual of Passing" , which was the best metal album of 2012, is they are delving much further into the whole death-rock vibe. It's not you typical death-rock where it's punk rock with a little Halloween to it, but an actual worship of death. The single note melody going into what would be the chorus of the opener "Entropy" sounds like it just flew out of the bat-cave. It often sounds like the guys in Atriarch are also not opposed to the post- Rozz Williams years of Christian death, as their is a similar serpentine slither writhing around "Collapse" as it uncoils."Revenant" continues even further down the death-rock path . there are bursts of spastic black metal ravings that leap pout like tourettes from the other wise smoothly hypnotic narcotic lure of the songs. It bears saying one of the strengths to this album is how vocalist Lenny Smith really stepped up to the plate, particularly with the clean or actually sung vocals. He kinda hinted at this in the past never really showed he could sing.
The first real purely metal song is "Bereavement" which goes from a blasting black metal to a grim doom trudge. The song expands sonically as the darkness seeps into the open cracks of the song and they are flirting with the more morose gothic sound. They are not goth in a way that over indulges elegance, but from the exploration of sorrow. Embracing the storm clouds hanging over them.This sounds like a an album that is best listened to at night, even though I am enjoying immensely as I write this at noon. October could not have been a more perfect timing for "An Unending Pathway" to be released.
"Rot" is creepy but in a much more atmospheric manner, as it's arrangement is more abstract than the other songs up until that point. It took this one a few listens before it clicked with me. The intro is pretty minimalist and surreal, whispers echoing out of the unknown. The drums which take a every tribal feel for the majority of the album lay back and give things a chance to swell into a more physical form. Vocal lamentations come across as more speculative rather than the earlier proclamations that carried over the thick bleakness. The lyrics almost seem to be Smith's narrative of his post-life wishes."Allfather" was already streamed on Cvlt Nation, so I knew what to expect for that one. However it is interesting to hear how it sits in the context of the album. Almost reaches a croon, as the vocals haunt the distant halls of the song. After a few listens I can here comparison to pre- Through Silver and Blood Neurosis.
"Veil" has a very deliberate sludge ridden chug to it. This balanced out between the band's invocation of darkness. It's not darkness in the sense of evil, but a rejection of the mundane that walks freely during the average work week. "Rot" was the one song as I was on the fence with at first , but after listening to it three times in a row, it finally clicked with me. I'll go ahead and give this album a 10. Billy Anderson did an excellent job at helping the band realize their vision. I am sure the album will continue to grow on me as the seasons grow colder and darker. Time will tell if this one hits the number slot on the best 0f 2014 like the album before it did two years ago, but it sounds like it should be heading in that direction.