Atten Ash – The Hourglass (Hypnotic Dirge Records)

Tuesday, 27th January 2015
Rating: 9/10

Talk about a buried treasure! Atten Ash is made up of founder James Greene (who contributes drums, bass, guitar, and clean vocals) alongside Daylight Dies’ Barre Gambling (who provides guitar and keys) and Legion of the Fallen’s Archie Hunt (who does the growling). Originally released independently back in 2012, The Hourglass somehow avoided everyone’s radar (though how remains a mystery upon hearing it), Hypnotic Dirge Records felt it needed another shot and is giving it the official ‘label-backed’ release.

It’s easy to toss Atten Ash in with the company of the best in the doom/death genre. Fans of Daylight Dies (duh), Novembers Doom, Helevorn, Woccon, and even Katatonia will find plenty to bring about a depressive smile when they hear The Hourglass. Sweeping and gorgeously somber guitar melodies, lush clean vocals, menacing roars, tasteful solos, and a haunting atmosphere all await those who seek this one out. There are also some really great choruses, like “See You…Never” and “Song for the Dead” that have a strong emotional pull. Greene’s sung vocals have a sound reminiscent of an early Jonas Renkse and serve as an excellent complement to Hunt’s more ominous growls. Tracks like “Not as Others Were” benefit nicely from this vocal trade-off as does the epic closing title track, and it never feels as if one is being under-appreciated.

Hard to complain about much of anything here with The Hourglass. It’s a rich debut from some talented players that delivers everything any fan of the above bands could want on a release. Kudos to Hypnotic Dirge for allowing this one to get a proper release; it’s clear that this is some top tier doom/death that should easily find a more welcoming invite by many with this edition. Let’s hope this means that there’s a smaller waiting period for some new material.

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