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Atmospheres - Reach Award winner

by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 27 May 2018, 12:47 PM

Hailing from Belgium, Progressive/Ambient trio ATMOSPHERES formed in 2012, originally as a one-man project, that quickly turned international. Their self-recorded/self-released debut album came out in 2013, followed by “The Departure” in 2015. Today, the band presents their third album “Reach,” which contains ten new tracks.

“Time” is a trilogy, with a first short track, a second longer track, and a third short track. “I” opens with the proverbial ticking of a clock and some soft drum electronica. It builds slowly with ambient background music, and vocals that seem to float on a breeze. It segues effortlessly into “II.” Heavy bass lines Djent under a light, airy and melodic sound. It’s dark and mysterious while also exuding elements of light…truly all about the “atmosphere,” aptly enough. Piano/keys are used subtly with just the perfect touch. It segues into the final movement, “III.” It really acts as the ending fade out to the middle movement. Taken as a whole, it’s a ten-minute dream sequence, and leaves you wondering if what you dreamed about was real.

“Null” opens with more of those thudding, Djent bass lines. The sound in the verses is fluid like the gentle ripple of water, but the dissonant bass and electronica act as an adversary to the sound. At times, it reminds me somewhat of the Danish band VOLA. “Mezame” has a bit more of a linear and obvious sound out of the gate, a more accessible amalgam of the competing elements that, up to this point, were more extreme on both ends. The melody is full on in the chorus and with melancholy overtones. “Morph” has a cautious and scenic opening, like peering through the thick of the forest to a glade nestled in a mountain valley, lush with the vibrant colors of spring. The melody hits hard thereafter, with a heaviness that announces it like a banner flowing high in the wind.

“Gravity” features some dissonant elements and portly bass guitars, with plenty of ambiance, like taking in the floating feeling of another planet’s delicate gravitational pull. “Inertia” clocks in at close to six-and-half minutes. “Inertia” means “lifeless,” but this song is anything but. It’s largely a lively song that has some pensive moments for sure, and lyrics that talk about “the world is about to expire, it will reset itself, there’s only shame in denying the sickness you inject. Can we still make it right…can we take a stand as one.” Take the lyrics as you will…for me it’s a spot on social commentary about the state of affairs in the world, and our role in making things better. We stand as one for what is right, or we fail as a people. “Reach” is heavier and more aggressive from the start, but with wonderful piano/keys that hold down the backdrop in support. There are some tense and biting moments of instrumentation, but overall it breathes quite fully, letting the melody hang out there for the taking. A thoughtful guitar solo climbs high into the canopy of stars that light the night sky.

“Evolve” is the ten-minute closing song. It’s a very fitting ending to the journey so far. Stef talks about how “I’ll never know is alive or what dies. I’ll have to grow, adapt, to survive…creating new life.” The song spends is a good deal of time in the build. It really keeps your interest in wondering where it might be heading, but at the same time, enjoy the peaceful ride along the way. The final few minutes are just gorgeous; resonating with a Post-Rock beauty that take you to another dimension. I really like what ATMOSPHERES has put together on this album called “Reach.” There is a lot going on here as well. There are blissful moments of ambient beauty, and heavy, thundering Djent bass notes that rumble the very earth. All of it comes together in fabrics and textures that create a synergy full of a rich essence and character.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Time I
2. Time II
3. Time III
4. Null
5. Mezame
6. Morph
7. Gravity
8. Inertia
9. Reach
10. Evolve
Stef – Vocals, Guitar
Matt – Bass
Bastiaan – Drums, Electronics
Record Label: Independent


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