Atriarch – Forever The End

With an oppressive and consuming mass of dark heavy rhythms and a nightmarish entanglement of black melodies and sounds, Portland blackened death rock metalers Atriarch with their debut album Forever The End out August 23rd via Seventh Rule Recordings do more than just bring sounds to  fill the ear. With their approx 37 minute long four track release the band induces reaction to its sounds, inspiring thoughts and feelings from and about its dark soul searching world.   

  Forever The End bleeds feelings of grief, death, black despair and bleak hollow lives which for many will be an echo of their worlds, some will find it in some way consoling whilst others an unsettling reminder. That is the power of Atriarch, their songwriting, and the resulting album. Forever The End should not be mistaken for a thoroughly depressive release but certainly it does not engage and play within the brightest of lights preferring to share its sentiment and thoughts cloaked in thick black shadows. Despite the heaviness of emotion that permeates within the release the tracks on Forever The End do not physically assault the senses, instead they stealthily invade and share their intensive sadness and despair on the back of intelligent gothic flavoured shadowed melodies and hooks.  

The songs within Forever The End are strongly varied and carry many apparent but undefined flavours and influences that hint rather than state, though as one listens it is not hard to have thoughts of bands that the music suggests such as Burzum, Swans, Christian Death, early Cure, Wire, and Bauhaus. An eclectic variety of sources though none are a predominate taste with Atriarch’s music and one would probably find each listener would come up with their own individual selection of names they hear.

As stated the tracks are nicely diverse within the songwriting and sound but it must be said that under the over whelming dark blanket of emotional clouds they can at times pass by without notice unless a focused concentration is applied, but then again that is part of the pleasure of repeat listens, finding more elements deep within a song or piece of music. The tracks ‘Plague’ with its absorbing droning black grind over slow collapsing rhythms and ‘Shadows’ with some wonderful haunting melodic breakdowns mid track under its imposing smothering dark, are fine examples, given more indepth  attention and one finds very rewarding creativity within them.

As said there is a pleasing gothic touch and blackness to parts of the album especially in ‘Fracture’ and the throaty bass fuelled closer ‘Downfall’. It recalls more the gothic bands of the eighties like the aforementioned Bauhaus plus the likes of Sisters Of Mercy and in some ways Joy Division rather than any modern versions but placed in the unique attack of Atriarch the flavour is just an elegant finery draped over their own imposing creation of sounds.

   Forever The End is a strong expressive and very satisfying album and impending concentrated attention and respect will be a definite from many quarters for its crawling slow tempos and dark atmosphere. The cloak of  similarity that does covers one track to another making it at times  not easy to realise a track had become the next song unless one listens with focused intent does not prevent the release from being one of the freshest and striking albums release so far this year. The album is very strong and brought with great quality and creativity making it a definite add to anyone’s to checkout list for all seeking and enjoying the darker expressive areas of music.

RingMaster 20/08/2011

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