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Atlas - Ukko

by John Foley at 27 February 2022, 12:27 PM

Coming from Finland, ATLAS describe their sound as “Northcore”, which contains lots of heavy riffs, catchy melodies and immersive soundscapes. The band has toured with the likes of ESKIMO CALLBOY, MONUMENTS, VOLA and ADEPT. Released back in December 2021, “Ukko” marks the second album from the band and it explores themes of death, healing, rebirth and faith. The albums name is in honor to a father figure to the band who sadly passed away. “Ukko” is a euphemism of the Finnish pre-Christian mythological god of the sky, thunder, weather and harvest.

The album opens up with the intro track “Talvi”, as chanting fades in we get this eerie score with an acoustic guitar over it. This is very cinematic and has a massive sound to it. Really sets up the vibe for the album. Then we get the heavy riffing crashing in with “Synti”. The song switches from quiet and back to heavy through-out this one with ease. There is a massive epic sound here and the vocals fit in well with the different sections. The song really feels like a journey which leads us to this crazy breakdown.

Next up we have “Taivaanranta” with a quiet acoustic guitar and a lead guitar line creeping in. The heavy music come in with lots of double bass and unreal riffs. The track switches to be melodic and then back to the chaos. There is a lot of emotion in the vocal delivery and the breakdown is like the world ending around us. An acoustic guitar leads us in as the title track “Ukko” opens as the heavy riffs then come stomping in like a battle cry. The vocal delivery through-out is great as this song is a march into war. The track does have this sense of impending doom over it. The middle section quite mesmerizing. This is a great song.

I really liked the acoustic guitar melody that opened the track “Lehto”. The vocal melody fits well here. This is a very emotional acoustic song that also has some really nice vocal harmonies in it. It is a nice break from all the heavy riffing. “Joki” is a song that creeps in with a feeling of being lost in a forest. There is a beautiful cinematic score to this one and soft guitar melodies. I loved this one but it is just the calm before the storm for what is coming next. The heavy riffing comes and tramples over as the song “Uhri” kicks off. The track sets us up for this big heavy sounding chorus. It is heavy but there is a melody here to that is guiding the song too. The drums here are great and the break down is out of this world as it closes out the track.

We come to the final song now with “Pohjannaula” which fades in which is very gentle sounding with this guitar rumble deep in the back ground. Some very beautiful melodies here but then the heavy riffing takes over. Everything here has this very uplifting feel to it. The band are here to give it all they got on this one and even give us this killer guitar solo that rips through the tune. This track is great and a perfect closing song for this album.

From listening to “Ukko” I can now get an idea as to what “Northcore is” as ATLAS has this massive sound to them. There are many different styles present through-out this and each song has this epic feel to it and feels like it is on its own journey. Although the formula they use for song structure can feel a little repetitive at times. The vocal here do show a lot of range and the songs can be quite progressive with beautiful melodies to chaotically heavy riffing, sometimes even both at the same time. I did enjoy this.

Songwriting: 6
Memorability: 7
Musicianship: 7
Production: 8

3 Star Rating

1. Talvi
2. Synti
3. Taivaanranta
4. Susi
5. Ukko
6. Henki
7. Lehto
8. Veri
9. Joki
10. Uhri
11. Pohjannaula
Tuomas Kurikka – Guitar and Vocals
Patrik Nuorteva – Vocals
Leevi Luoto – Guitar and Vocals
Kevin Apostol – Bass
Aku Karjalainen – Drums
Record Label: Long Branch Records


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