If witchcraft ever needed a suitable soundtrack for its presence than it should look no further than Atavist Of Mann from Huata. A mightily formidable consumption of the senses, the debut album from the French band is a concussive mixture of stoner, sludge, and Doom metal brought with a blackened Occult breath. Not an easy or comfortable listen but the album is persistently rewarding and is without doubt one of the best releases of its ilk this year.
From the old Celtic part of France, Brittany, Huata first drew attention with their first EP Open The Gates Of Shambhala of 2010. Their creativity finds inspiration in music and films of the sixties and seventies and deals with things as the accompanying promo says like ‘the initiation and hidden workings of secret societies, Luciferian pacts, extra terrestrial forces, inner earth mysteries, the quests for the holy power of mighty relics, Vril power and the ancient knowledge from dead kingdoms.’ Lyrically, musically, and in its overall presence their sound is intense and merciless bringing an oppressive unstoppable weight upon the senses. Taking and creating sounds which remind of the likes of Electric Wizard, Goatsnake, Church Of Misery, Black Widow, Black Sabbath, and Goblin, their music and album leaves one gasping for air under the power but completely mesmerised by the accompanying drone laced absorption.
Released through Mordgrimm, the album is just six songs but is not short in any other way, its overall length, mass, and intent a sonic swamp of angry muscle and predatory instinct. From the opening Lords Of The Flame, the release ruptures synapses and scrapes nerves without` mercy. This album has to be listened to at full volume to fully feel its might but of course that makes the destruction of the senses even more acute. The song is a crushing mass with blistering melodic imagination and burrowing energy. From its initial assault the track tempers the damage with glorious Hammond organ melodic weaves and a growling rippling bass but it is not long before the aggressive claws return to overcome the atmospheric climate that had evolved and leave one again crawling breathlessly under the assault.
The excellent following Operation Mistletoe is an even coarser grizzled obliteration of nerve endings. Dirtier, caustically vicious, and with a stoner flavour brewing underneath the bristling surface, the song is quite simply aural abrasion, a sonic enema for the senses. As in the previous song the vocals are a mesmeric contrast to the noise ripping through every pore. They are immersed within the heavy claustrophobic tones but add a soulful melodic light, thought that is not to say they are submissive as they offer a gruff delivery to pierce the doom swamp more often.
Atavist Of Mann is unrelenting with the likes of Thee Imperial Wizard and Fall of the 4th leaving the emotions pulsating from their intrusion. To say the album leaves the ears ringing after its departure is just touching the surface of the effect of the album. Inside and out every inch of the body, nervous system, and thoughts are left reeling but wholly satisfied. Huata have no mercy or wish to relinquish their hold of the listener whilst it overwhelms their bodies. They have also created one of the best and most exhilarating releases in their genre heard this year so there are no complaints here.