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Atavistia - The Winter Way Award winner

The Winter Way
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 14 May 2020, 11:57 AM

From their Bandcamp page, ATAVISTIA is an epic Metal band from Vancouver, Canada. The explore various forms of Metal within their music, resulting in a symphonic mix of nature, atmosphere, and technically precise musicianship. The diversity of ATAVISTIA, much like a forest in the full bloom of spring, is something to behold. “The Winter Way” is the band’s third release, and contains seven tracks.

“From the Ancient Stones” leads off the album. It’s a short, three-minute instrumental, with moving symphonic elements and a sense of the epic for sure. It waxes and wanes, as any good track would do, building crescendos along the way. It’s quite charming. “The Atavistic Forest” opens with Death vocals and a Progressive sound, almost like WINTERSUN. Ominous tones abound, and they really do mix in a lot of different elements of the Metal genre into their music, with a changing meter and various symphonic elements.

“Through the Hollow Ravens Eyes” is another epic masterpiece, stringing together many different elements into the song. This track has a bit more of a Viking Metal feeling to it, with the cadence and the vocals. The sound softens greatly just before the half-way mark, with what sounds like a harp, but it picks back up, with thunderous drumming and bass guitar work in particular. “Eternal Oceans” is a ten-minute piece, with a bit of a slower pace, but no sacrifices made in the volume of various instruments used to tell the tale. The meter shifting is done with precision, as if the band can read each other’s thoughts and move on effortlessly. The string arrangements here are just beautiful.

“Dawn of the Frozen Age” is another lengthy song, at close to ten minutes in length. It opens slowly and cautiously at first, with a lone guitar riff, and slow, measured drumming, with ominous voices in the background. The clean vocals are an unexpected touch. It changes form along the way, like a shape-shifter would, but never loses the sound along the way. “The Forbidden One” is similar in length, opening with hushed tones. About a minute in, the main sound is established. I would be remiss if I did not mention the fantastic drum work by Izzy Langlais. He really is the glue that holds these epic elements together. But, the rest of the band is equally as impressive. The sheer number of shifts the band makes in this song is amazing, and they never miss a beat. Each step is pre-planned…or is it? I hinted at this before…it’s such a well-oiled machine that either the band has spent countless hours rehearsing, or they are inside each other’s heads, and instinctively know where to go next.

“The Winter Way” closes the album. Opening with charming piano notes and combined with soft, pleasing strings, it’s like the opening of spring on full display in front of your eyes. In one swift action, spring magically appears. This song has a more despondent sound than some of the others. The clean vocals are longing, making you yearn for more, and whisking you up in the conundrum the subject currently faces. Overall, this was an unexpected piece of real beauty here, as I was unfamiliar with the band before doing the review. They are masterful musicians, and incorporate many different elements into the album. Much like WINTERSUN, they are just so good at changing meters and direction, and have their sound down pat without any lingering questions. This is going to be an album that has to be in discussion for “album of the year” honors. Will someone please sign this band?

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 9

5 Star Rating

1. From the Ancient Stones
2. The Atavistic Forest
3. Through the Hollow Ravens Eyes
4. Eternal Oceans
5. Dawn of the Frozen Age
6. The Forbidden One
7. The Winter Way
Mattias Sippola – Guitars, Vocals
Dalton Meaden – Guitars
D'wayne Murray – Bass
Izzy Langlais – Drums
Record Label: Independent


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