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Atrium - Ancient Spells

Ancient Spells
by "Metal Mark" Garcia at 18 August 2021, 2:12 PM

The early years of the Second wave of Black Metal (between the late 80’s and early 90’s) caused a commotion in the genre that can be felt even today. These words mean that, even after 30 years of the events encircling the Norwegian scene, when Black Metal came back from the depths of the underground after some years of seeming as a dead genre, storming the world and taking the scene by assault, the things done in the past still have impact on many bands. And it can be felt on ATRIUM’s work, as can be heard on “Ancient Spells”, the band’s first album.

Hailing from Colombia, this one man band shows a musical work based totally on Old School Black Metal form, in a similar way to that one used by EMPEROR on “In the Nightside Eclipse” and SATYRICON’s “Dark Medieval Times” ages, with that mix between a funereal set of ambiences created by keyboards, but with the raw and aggressive instrumental parts of guitars, bass and drums, with shrieks filling the spaces. Obviously this formula isn’t new at all, but it’s always a very good way when the band has talent, and ATRIUM has it for sure.

Magister L. (the mastermind behind the band) produced, mixed and mastered the songs of “Ancient Spells”. It harsh and crude, to reinforce the Old School appeal of the album; but even having its charm, it could have been done in a better shape, because the keyboards are loud and hide the other musical instruments in some moments. It’s not as bad as these words can mean, but could be in a better way.

“The Iron King” lasts more than 10 minutes, so it shows contrasts between introspective parts lead by keyboards with the morbid, harsh and aggressive moments (with nasty vocals and sharp guitar riffs). A funereal ambience is shown on “Despair of Silence” similar to those found on early BURZUM’s album, but in a personal way. “Lands of Hyperborea” is totally focused on keyboards and some haunting clean voices in some moments, acting like an intro to the introspective approach of “Crossing the Northern Sky” (that shows a solid work on bass guitar and drums, even in a simple way), and “Overture” follows a more aggressive tendency, but being consensual with the album shows. Yes, these five songs to cause chills on the spines of the fans.

For now, “Ancient Spells” is a very good first coming, but for the future, ATRIUM must work in a better way the sonority.

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 7
Memorability: 7
Production: 4

3 Star Rating

1. The Iron King
2. Despair of Silence
3. Lands of Hyperborea
4. Crossing the Northern Sky
5. Overture
Magister L. - All instruments, Vocals
Record Label: Signal Rex


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