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Atræ Bilis – Divinihility Award winner

Atræ Bilis
by Santiago Puyol at 20 July 2020, 8:24 PM

Canadian Technical Death Metal band ATRÆ BILIS are releasing their debut EP "Divinihility" on August 14th, 2020, through Transcending Obscurity Records. On this 6-track, 22-minute debut, the band mixes elements from several Extreme Metal styles, making for a sound with tons of personality yet never straying too far away from the Techdeath moniker.

"Gnode" opens the record with a barricade of technically complex riffs and manic drumming. The crunchy tone of Brendan Campbell’s bass adds a layer of nastiness to the whole track that mostly works as an intro to "Sulphur Curtain." The band lets loose completely here, with spidery guitar work and boorish, otherwordly vocals by Jordan Berglund. Its explosive almost-chorus crushes you with a full-on wall of sound, noisy approach. When things slow down, Luka Govednik and Campbell get to show off their sense of groove a little with playful, syncopated stuff. This is Technical Death at its most fun.

Epic riffing and blast beats welcome the listener into "Phantom Veins Trumpet." The song structure is a little bit more broken and experimental, reminiscent of early era BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME or some of the most abrasive stuff by CYNIC. Borderline mathy. Some high-pitched screaming pierces through your ears, adding a sense of urgency and madness to an already chaotic track.

"Ectopian" takes a couple of pages from the Black Metal playbook when it comes to riffing, still anchored in the brutal Techdeath style of the band. It ends up exploding into a Hardcore-tingled, punchy section, throwing it a swingy triplet feel to clash against it. A dynamic track with several sections. It goes full Progressive Metal, finding time for kind of melodic leads and epic choral-like vocal harmonization.

Mixing the epic feel of "Ectopian" and the urgent, more straightforward feel of the first three tracks, "Upon the Shoulders Of Havayoth" showcases every strength of ATRÆ BILIS. Another fun track that even dares go into sludgy, Doom-tingled territory with a couple of slower moments.

Closer "A Ceremony Of Sectioning" goes out in grand style, with shifting sounds and tempos, exploring pure noise as much as slightly melodic ideas. It is as brutal and manic as anything that came before, and even manages to add a tribal-esque, percussive colour to "Divinihility." The inclusion of stringed classical instruments such as violins is as unexpected as it is a fun touch. Its five minutes fly by without noticing.

This EP goes straight to the point. It is fun, loud and crushingly heavy. When it comes to mixing and production, everything sounds perfectly clear while retaining the raw value this type of brutal, extreme stuff needs. It also flows amazingly well, feeling as one entity rather than a collection of songs.

ATRÆ BILIS never lets go of the high-energy they introduce on the first track. The musicianship is certainly impressive as things get quite complex. Still, the band never sounds too angular or unnecessarily difficult. It is a testament to both restrain and impressive compositional abilities. The technical skills of the band are put in service of the songs, not the other way round.

An impressive EP that leaves you wanting more as it ends too quickly. Your ears might thank it, thought, because this quartet knows how to go hard and heavy. Keep an eye on ATRÆ BILIS, they are certainly worth it!

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

4 Star Rating

1. Gnode
2. Sulphur Curtain
3. Phantom Veins Trumpet
4. Ectopian
5. Upon the Shoulders Of Havayoth
6. A Ceremony Of Sectioning
Brendan Campbell – Bass
Jordan Berglund – Vocals
Luka Govednik – Drums
David Stepanavicius – Guitars
Record Label: Transcending Obscurity Records

Edited 19 October 2021

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