Gloomy and introspective yet contrarily heavy and distorted tribal extroverts Atriarch spread their black wings on the timely monickered Dead As Truth (Pre Order from Relapse HERE). Imagine some of the barren dirge of older My Dying Bride if filtered through a West Coast penchant for organic punk and extreme metal scene history, harsher vocals and crescendos to match bands like Intronaut and Inter Arma (albeit with a much more sinister dynamic to the dynamics).
Dead As Truth could have been a two song with the opening crusher “Inferno” (one of the most compelling pieces yet from the group) and the almost Death Rock meets New Order by way of Rudimentary Peni sounding bassline genius of single length “Dead”. These songs are going to make the band really able to flex their muscle and range live in a way that I bet will be hard to ignore. Atriarch have refined their sense of dirge here while audibly coming together more as a unit. Their past work is great but there are certain jaw dropping moments of synergy here. 1:50 or so into “Dead” when the sheets of melting glass noise solo starts and into the next, more subdued nest verse is a key example, the band treating each section with respect and then exploding into the next heavy section due to the emotional weight of it all rather than for heavy style points.
These kind of tricks, authentic reaction versus trying to be “brootal”, makes this band or Deafheaven or even older bands in very different modes like the early stuff from The Used or Blood Brothers more interesting at times than some of their peers past and present in that whatever you say about the band’s various sub-genres or career preferences, you can’t deny they are/were feeling it.
“Devolver” is ok but kills the pace a little bit. The song is like banging an anvil with a sledgehammer and that is certainly awesome. Maybe it is because I chilled out with a joint before really digging into it. I am sure it will clobber with a certain early Swans/ Neubauten brutishness live. It isn’t bad just les original than the two songs before it which managed to subvert expectations while tipping the cap to predecessors.
Whatever your take away from this record, if you didn’t know the band’s earliest stuff you will still as a newer fan be stoked that the group are able to match the quality of “Bereavement” and prove their staying power. Check out “Inferno” for a song that uses the space of the intro to cast a thick spell, like clinging to a buoy in a foggy night as ghosts, regrets and the vague outlines of ships and memories pass you in the lonely night. The song conjures personal hells quite literally and would almost give Neurosis a run for their money in places. I am glad “Inferno” was a single because you won’t forget it and the song absolutely punishes. Some people might not like the growled spoken vocal style in the verses, but I think it works very well.
The record streets on August 11th and is an eye opening, ear bleed inducing morass of knotted emotion, leaving you feeling like old tree roots, tight in the shoulders and tired but braced to endure. You’ll likely wonder at impermanence and the things we can and cannot change about others and yourself.
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