Atavist - III: Absolution review




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Reviewer:
8.5

13 users:
7.00
Band: Atavist
Album: III: Absolution
Release date: June 2020


01. Loss
02. Struggle
03. Self-Realisation
04. Absolution


The more I listen to this, the more I think it should be mandatory for any slow doom album to have a violin.

Approaching Tool-like pauses in between albums, with II: Ruined being released in 2007, it somehow feels like this is the perfect time for the epitome of bleakness that is Atavist to return. First getting to know them through Winterfylleth's Chris Naughton being a guitarist in this band as well (Winterfylleth have also released a damn great record this year), I was amazed by how different of a sonic spectrum Atavist could reach. Of course Chris isn't the only member in the band, but since Burning Witch's Jamie Sykes is no longer in the band, I ran out of related bands to namedrop. But what is amazing about this album is that despite the long hiatus, each current member has been part of at least one of the previous Atavist records.

III: Absolution is made out of four behemoths in between 9 and 18 minutes, each of them glacially slow and bleak beyond belief. The album feels a lot closer to funeral doom than the post/sludge it had came to be associated with, but the tones do feel close to the sludge sound at times. Make no mistake, the sludge parts are in no way groovy. There is nothing fun about Absolution. It's exhausting, depressing, and frustrating, and this is probably the only time when I'll ever use "frustrating" positively in a review, because it's really rare to have music feel too one-dimensional, but achieve its intended effect with that one-dimensionality, in this case: feeling exhausting, depressing, and frustrating. This is an album that leaves you torn, which is ironic because it's far from the most depressing, raw, crushing, atmospheric or even slow metal albums out there, but it still does what it does.

I did mention the violin, it making appearances alongside the cello in the first track and last track, played by Bianca Blezard and Jo Quail respectively. And the effect is pretty devastating, especially in the last track that also has some synth soundscapes by Mark Deeks, in that it turns a bit of that hopelessness into hopefulness and then back into hopelessness in order to be even more crushing. It's somber, dreadful and it just tears you down. And it is here that the one-dimensional nature of the mid part of the album has the most effect, because "Loss" lures you in with some semblance of hope, "Struggle" and "Self-Realisation" pummel you and completely starve you, and once things start being hopeful again in "Absolution", the damage is done, the soul is wrecked, and the will is exhausted. Even the absolution it does give you it's bittersweet. As Chris states: "There is no joy here, only relief at the end of an arduous voyage."

I do find myself listening more to the bookending songs, mostly because of, well, the extra instruments, but also because I don't always have the willpower for the whole listen. Absolution is a wonderful return from one of Britain's most unsung doom bands, and also a perfect counterpoint to the epic but equally atmospheric Winterfylleth.



 



Written on 23.06.2020 by My opinion is objective, sorry if you don't agree, but you're wrong.


Comments

Comments: 6   Visited by: 79 users
23.06.2020 - 18:43
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
For band i dont know maybe its your best review, will check it out
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Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
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23.06.2020 - 22:20
nikarg
Mod
The title track is so good.
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23.06.2020 - 22:42
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by nikarg on 23.06.2020 at 22:20

The title track is so good.

Help me I have no restraint in rating everything highly but I can't help reviewing albums that deserve it
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- I've dreamt of that for years.
- Dying?
- Running.




2020 goodies
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23.06.2020 - 22:52
nikarg
Mod
Written by RaduP on 23.06.2020 at 22:42

Help me I have no restraint in rating everything highly but I can't help reviewing albums that deserve it

I don't mind your *slightly* bloated ratings mate, because the content is always so spot on.
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23.06.2020 - 23:00
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by nikarg on 23.06.2020 at 22:52

Written by RaduP on 23.06.2020 at 22:42

Help me I have no restraint in rating everything highly but I can't help reviewing albums that deserve it

I don't mind your *slightly* bloated ratings mate, because the content is always so spot on.

Well at least you know that I'm not actively searching for mediocre stuff to review just to normalize my ratings, but I won't shy away from lower ratings if the album deserves it.

Anyway, I care more about bringing the album in the spotlight, but it's pretty useful for it to have a rating (especially if it has a wikipedia page)
----
- I've dreamt of that for years.
- Dying?
- Running.




2020 goodies
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24.06.2020 - 05:40
Chobo_jokeR
Great review for a great album. Glad I took the time to give it a listen. It'll be hitting my list that's for sure.
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