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Atlases - Woe Portrait Award winner

Woe Portrait
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 09 September 2020, 7:54 AM

ATLASES was founded by guitarist Ville-Veikko Laaksonen in 2017, after Laaksonen parted ways with his previous band OCEANWAKE. The right lineup was found rather quickly. ATLASES’s music combines metal with atmospheric soundscapes, making the end result sound like Modern Post Metal, as they themselves call it. “Woe Portrait” contains eight tracks.

“Dreadlight” opens the album. The sound is heavy, and sterile, with guttural vocal utterances, reminding me a bit of GOJIRA. The guitars are down-tuned to create maximum impact. “Halos” begins with a lighter approach, with some solemn and melancholy tones. The vocals are clean at first, resulting in a nice little melody line. They turn harsh, and that weighted sound returns. The melody line stays present throughout the song. That interlude towards the end is hypnotizing. “Eternia” opens with slow, clean guitars and some background ambiance. So far, the album is exploring nicely. The clean vocals have some kind of effect in them that makes them sound dreamy. The harsh vocals then come into play, and the song is buried in meteor sized accents, that pulverize the ground beneath you. Bass guitar leads the charge in the clean interlude.

“The Unsung Lament Pt. 1” opens with a charming beauty…atmospheric tones and soft vocals fill the air, giving you a feeling of calm and peace. Here is where you get those rich Post Metal vibes. The song is aptly titled as well, because the lament can be felt strongly. It finishes with a strong, harsh sound. “The Unsung Lament Pt. 2” opens with clean guitar notes and some background ambiance. One thing the band is good at is creating these different soundscapes, sometimes of power and other times of beauty, as in this track. The vocals are highly emotive and you feel drawn into their lament. But you know the harsh sound is coming, and it comes hard.

“Phoenix Trail” is the longest song on the album, coming in at seven-and-a-half-minutes. It opens with alluring clean guitars and some more of that nice background ambiance. The beauty of their music is on full display here. But, the darkness starts to seep in towards the end, and it finishes on a heavy and harsh note. “Solarist” opens with the steady thwack of bass guitar, along with some clean guitars, but when that heavy riff drops, it drops with the weight of the world on your back. It pauses around the half-way mark, allowing you to breathe in its beauty. It finishes with all of the depressing power that they can muster.

“Marta” closes the album. It opens with two (guitar?) notes in a repeating pattern, along with some dark thuds in the background, building into a pretty little melody. From there, a heavy, lumbering sound presents. From there, it alternates between the two different sounds, revisiting sections as you would revisit all the good and bad in your life. Overall, this was a fantastic album that covered many of the emotions you might feel going through this thing we call life, including beauty, wonder, despondence, depression and many others. At times, the album toyed with you, luring you in with its charms, so it could later crush you with its desolate might and power. What a moving and powerful experience “Woe Portrait” is.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 10
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Dreadlight
2. Halos
3. Eternia
4. The Unsung Lament Pt. 1
5. The Unsung Lament Pt. 2
6. Phoenix Trail
7. Solarist
8. Marta
Jamppa Lamminpää – Vocals
Ville-Veikko Laaksonen – Guitars
Nico Brander – Guitars
Jerkka Perälä – Bass
Rami Peltola – Drums
Record Label: Lifeforce Records


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Edited 04 February 2023

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