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Rating:
8.0
The Atlas Moth - The Old Believer
10 June 2014


01. Jet Black Passenger
02. Collider
03. The Sea Beyond
04. Halcyon Blvd
05. Sacred Vine
06. The Old Believer
07. City Of Light
08. Wynona
09. Hesperian
10. Blood Will Tell


In the face of all odds this unusual album won't sit idly in your mind. Seemingly misshapen in delivery, this is atypical of a hybrid of sludge and stoner metal and it leaves a clear and distinctive impression.

It's often at a metal crossroads that particularly creative sounds and fresh ingenuity emerges. Where two closely associated sub-genres such as those of stoner and sludge become part and parcel of the one sound, the result can occasionally lead to an approach that best bleeds the blood of both. The Old Believer is compelling in this way; conjoining elements from two kinds of metal that have been well aligned before, but in a natural and uniform congealing which brings forth a wealth of new ideas.

At what point does this album cease to be sludge and begin to be stoner, or vice versa? This really isn't a valid question in the case of The Atlas Moth, as they blend the two so closely here that the fundamentals of either sub-genre become seamlessly unified under the one style. That's not to suggest that their sound is a smooth one in either its textures or its structures though. It actually comes across as necessarily rough, yet not without a rich sense of melody to the song writing. The supportive layering of atmospheric effects draws in a significant post-metal influence as well, making the descriptor "atmospheric sludge" seem all the more applicable as the layering envelops the experience in a way that draws some inspiration from the likes of Isis, albeit in more abrupt and less linear spans.

Psychedelic components reveal the stoner to this and enhance the sludge, and conversely the hardcore clattering of cymbal and drum work reveal the sludge and enhance the stoner. It's surprising that what ties everything together is the central weave of melody which effectively runs the album's entirety. Riffs reign in a residual stoner metal fashion, but not without delving in sludge tones. Likely the vocal arrangements here are something to which one will have to become accustomed; the two contrasting styles dually performed are odd and intriguing to compare, as those of a blackened hardcore produce a triad of shrieks, growls and shouts, which offer a more abrasive brother to the cleaner vocal style used in alternation. The latter are the kind that would fit well into a stoner doom metal as much as a less hardcore driven sludge metal climate, so naturally they find appropriate placement in this fascinating metal mix.

In essence this isn't an immediately enticing form of the sludge/stoner hybrid at first impression. It's the kind of metal that will work its way into the listener's appreciations, taking its time to make the intended mark, as distinctively original sounds such as this do deliver in time. The track lengths seem perfectly suited for the task at hand, not so long as to bore with any laboriously drawn out sludge, or so short so as to be over before the desired vibe sets in to fullest effect. Hooks come in a variety of ways; from the individualised atmospheric effects of each tune, to their continual core melodic structures, disquieting vocal arrangements and jutting riff patterns.

This particular and well defined vibe is unique, and The Old Believer has a strange way of combining its elements, resulting in an album that is both coarsely conceived and discordant as well as satisfyingly atmospheric and psychedelically infused.

Performance: 8
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 9
Production: 8


Band profile: The Atlas Moth
Album: The Old Believer


 



Written on 10.06.2014 by
R'Vannith
R'Vannith enjoys music, he's hoping you do too.
More reviews by R'Vannith ››



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Troy Killjoy - 11.06.2014 at 06:26  
I've heard about these guys before but never bothered to check them out because I always thought they were just one of those post-metal bands. But you say they incorporate psychedelic elements into the mix and blend sludge and stoner and since I've been on that kind of kick for a while now I suppose I should check this out.
R'Vannith - 11.06.2014 at 09:30  
Written by Troy Killjoy on 11.06.2014 at 06:26

I've heard about these guys before but never bothered to check them out because I always thought they were just one of those post-metal bands. But you say they incorporate psychedelic elements into the mix and blend sludge and stoner and since I've been on that kind of kick for a while now I suppose I should check this out.


I was the same, I had them pinned as just another post-metal band as well, before checking this one out that is. They're surprisingly different to what I was expecting and I'd imagine it'd be the same for you if you give this a listen.
Spirit Molecule - 11.06.2014 at 11:16  
Loved their last album, should give this a spin. I remember there being a stream online somewhere, is it still around?
Mr. Doctor - 11.06.2014 at 14:43  
These guys are amazing. Saw them live once at Roadburn and they killed it. their previous album was great so will definitely check this one out. Thank you for the review!


And what an artwork.
Erik M. - 13.06.2014 at 22:59  
Seems like something I would enjoy. Sounds pretty interesting at least. Glad to find that this album is featured on Bandcamp.
tea[m]ster - 19.06.2014 at 00:12  
Great review, sums it all up quite nicely. Enjoying this release very much.
toxx - 20.06.2014 at 08:36  
Listening to it right now. Never considered listening to them before reading this review. Good thing i read it too, because I really like the sound of this one!

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