The Atlas Moth – The Old Believer (Profound Lore)

Thursday, 26th June 2014
Rating: 8.5/10

As enjoyable as 2011’s An Ache for the Distance was, The Old Believer is just…more…realized. And a more “realized” The Atlas Moth equates to more immediacy, something that wasn’t always on the corner on An Ache. The Old Believer, though, drips magnificent post-twin guitar harmonies and a thick-as-fuck atmosphere, so much so, that calling this album sludge would be a gigantic disservice. The Atlas Moth are long past such territory for the remedial-minded. Thusly, The Old Believer puts The Atlas Moth well beyond their previous works. And so-called contemporaries.

The mood and overall temperament of the album touches upon many of the same areas that modern-day Junius does. Somewhat relaxed, in the back riffing, albeit guided by well-placed guitar melodies are the way to go, as vocalist Stavros Giannopolous moves in and out of graveled cleans and the occasional shriek, something the band could probably do away with for album #4. But, this duplicity serves a song like “Halcyon Blvd” well, one of the album’s more challenging cuts because of how the vocals resist to take a common thread.

The build-then-crash of opener “Jet Black Passenger” is an ample pace-setter, ushering in the album’s regular tempo, of which is usually slow, and purposely plodding. Yet, it’s the aforementioned guitar action (three guitarists in all here) that make The Old Believer such an enthralling listen. The interplay found across “The Sea Beyond,” the magnificent title track (love the heavy opening riff), and closer “Blood Will Tell” each possess unconventional use of piled-on guitar melodies, of which are placed in the mix so they’re not overpowering, but there to act as facilitator. Marvelous.

Given the nature and persuasiveness of its predecessor, DR had high expectations for The Old Believer. Suffice it to say, it did not disappoint, thus emerging as one of the year’s high-rung atmospheric metal albums. Moreover, The Atlas Moth have something few bands emerging from the sludge morass have: Personality. Highly recommended.

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