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Atlases – Haar Award winner

by Justin "Witty City' Wittenmeier at 10 June 2019, 4:18 AM

Beauty, hate, calm, frenzied, ethereal, light, heavy, progressive, serene, hellish, depressed, jubilant..all these words and more could be used to describe “Haar,” the debut full length album from Finnish Post-Metal band ATLASES.  This album has quickly risen to the top of my MP3 player as my most played album at the moment.  The only other release so far from this band is an EP from 2017…I’m astonished that a band this young is already so adept in writing such profound and in depth music.

Neophyte,” begins with an ominous tone before vocalist Jamppa bursts through the void with  his ravaging vocals.  ATLASES are, at times, definitely more Death Metal oriented than most other Post-Metal bands, which is more than fine with me.  Both the music and vocals have the ability to give that edge as quickly as they can go the complete opposite direction and become something totally different.  “Neophyte,” shows this well; the first three minutes or so are heavy as hell Melodic Death then the band switches gears to heavenly clean vocals and clean tones before throwing in some very dissonant guitar riffs that made my head fill like it was going to explode.

This album can also paint entire worlds and scenes into my head.  The opening moments of “Heathen Colors,” took me to the distant shores of time.  At this place, everything is a peaceful void of nothingness.  The lush, vibrant tones turn a bit more dangerous as the Death vocals kick in, accompanied by Rami's strong and varied drums.  The guitars are both heavy, abrasive, yet melodic with soft touches.  The song twists and turns, transforming my peaceful trip into a walk thru hell.

The band gets a chance to really show their instrumental chops with “Seasons Aligned”, the best instrumental song I’ve heard since DREAM THEATER’s “Stream of Consciousness,” on their “Train of Thought” album way back in 2003.  As this song plays, my head conjures up images of an ancient forest displayed in a montage of plants and animals growing and dying as the relentless march of time brings both life and death to everything around it.  After such a beast of a song, the band is smart and switches gears for the next track.

At just over four minutes in length, “Earth Into Ocean,” is the shortest track on the album but no less impressive.   The explosion thunder of the bass drums and the psychedelic clean guitar riffs command attention almost immediately.  The band settles into a heavy groove with vocals spit out with energetic barks.  Just when you thought the band might leave out any emotion, the last half the song is a spirited yet sorrowful collection of riffs and a solo that could bring tears to the eyes if heard in the wrong emotional state.

The final track, “Moon Pillar,” is a journey to another dimension but the trip to get there is the most exciting part.  Tragedy mixed with melody and ambient textures envelops the soundscape.  The more ethereal vocal approach is perfect for the tones but the song gets a dash of arcane anger with the death growls and the clean guitar tones dropping down a notch to something more dense. I just can’t get enough of this album and once again my on going and ever changing top 10 albums of the year find another extremely strong contender to fight with.  If you like Post-Metal, this is probably the best purchase you will make all year. If you don’t care for the genre, I bet this album will change your mind.

Songwriting: 10
Originality: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

1. Neophyte
2. Centralis
3. Heathen Colors
4. Halcyon
5. Monolithe
6. Seasons Aligned
7. Earth Into Ocean
8. Moon Pillar
Jamppa Lamminpää - Vocals
Ville-Veikko Laaksonen - Guitars
Nico Brander - Guitars
Jerkka Perälä - Bass
Rami Peltola - Drums  
Record Label: Rain Without End Records


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