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Atriarch : Dead As Truth

Atriarch deliver ritual over simple performance in this latest commemoration of darkness.

When assessing the impressions an album leaves upon the listener, often strengths and weaknesses are levied upon the individual performances on the album such as the proficiency of the guitar player or the fluidity of the drummer. One has to wonder, however, what happens to the other members of the band? Were they only backup to one man's greatness? What message did the band truly want to send as a whole? It is with this last question that Atriarch should be introduced. The band formed in 2009 in the not-so-shocking locale of Portland, Oregon. In contrast to the issues previously raised, this is a band strengthened by the sum of its parts to deliver a unifying message. The band certainly are not afraid to let that message be heard resoundingly clear, one of death, suicide, and the ultimate futility of existence. Atriarch have composed music with which to commemorate the darkness and perpetuate isolation.

The album begins with 'Inferno,' the longest track and also a fitting beginning to illustrate the band's sound and message. It seems to toe the line between intro and first track but features a truly huge sound comprised of echoing meaty guitar chords, rambling, punchy drums, ever-moving bass, and vocals that at one time conjure up Andrew Eldritch and oppositely seem to invoke the same demons as Mayhem's dynamo, Attila. The second track, aptly titled 'Dead,' is a more up-tempo affair with lyrics revolving around suicide and a chorus that exists as a hypnotic whirlpool of despair. 'Repent,' the fifth track, begins with some haunting diminished guitar chords that hang over the lyrics delivered by a singer that seems to be mostly preaching before the music devolves into chaos, a Black Metal funeral replete with blast beats and odd angular guitar chords that somehow work.

One cannot help but have the impression of ritual over simple performance from the album. From its softer meanderings to the long, hanging Doom chords to the insanity of the parts that more resemble Black Metal, the narrative of ultimate chaos is successfully conveyed. The image of the cult running aimlessly around covered in blood and other fluids pervades, particularly when reflecting upon the album as a whole. Atriarch have a rich sound that revels in dissonance. Songs that resemble Pop-structure shirk the moniker as ideas are (un)resolved. It seems that every instrument is an effect and every effect is an instrument as the music takes one back to the highly experimental late '80s and early '90s when terms like death and goth in relation to music were much more open-ended. Bands like Swans typify the effect Atriarch seem to be going for, and when mixed with the earlier stylings of My Dying Bride, Anathema, and the nihilistic, suicidal German band Bethlehem, a fuller picture of their sound is painted. It's a testament to one's mastery of an instrument to know which rules to break as is displayed by the gargantuan guitars that at times hit with the tenacity of multi-fingered piano chords while other times sound like metallic nails grinding against the first layer of paint on the wall cutting it open to bleed out across the room. Also, a highlight is the role the bass plays, especially on the tracks 'Devolver' and 'Void,' where the band are unafraid to let the bass take the lead in introducing melody into the scope of the song. Perhaps what solidifies the success of the album is that it causes one to want to seek out more media from the band such as videos and audio tracks, and ultimately, one cannot escape the ever-nagging urge to see the band live.

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Reviewer's rating: 7.5/10


Tracklist :
1. Inferno
2. Dead
3. Devolver
4. Void
5. Repent
6. Hopeless

Duration : Approx. 32 minutes

Visit the Atriarch bandpage.

Reviewed on 2018-04-14 by Chris Hawkins
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