Ten years in and unleashing their third album this very week, Swedish melodic punks Atlas Losing Grip just get better and musically broader. Currents is a treat of a confrontation and muscular seduction, a release bulging with explosive songs bred in imaginative songwriting and bound in just as magnetically resourceful sounds. As striking and highly persuasive as it is from the first listen, it grows into an even more rigorously compelling adventure over time, revealing new nuances and depths from play to play. Atlas Losing Grip has had no lacking of acclaim coming their way with their reputation growing show by show, release by release, but Currents is a new plateau of enterprise and maturity from the band, a certain game changer in attention and stature.
Hailing from Lund, Atlas Losing Grip upon forming swiftly stirred up appetites in the city’s renowned punk scene which had also spawned the likes of Satanic Surfers and Astream. Debut album Shut The World Out was unveiled to strong responses in 2008, its success followed by the recruitment of Satanic Surfers vocalist Rodrigo Alfaro into the line-up. The next year was marked by the release of Watching The Horizon on mini-cd and 10” vinyl record, an immediate indication of a potent growth in the band’s craft and metal infused punk sound and now with a striking voice to match. With shows with bands such as Bad Religion and the undertaking of many tours under their belts, Atlas Losing Grip uncaged their second album State Of Unrest in 2011. It revealed yet another open evolution and growth, a striking leap forward which has been repeated again between Currents and its predecessor. Driven by an even deeper and creative blend of heavy metal and the band’s distinct style of melodic punk, the fourteen track new proposition is a tapestry of spellbinding and explosive sonic colours around just as gripping and dramatic structures.
Lapping waves bring opener Sinking Ship into view and an instantly inviting weave of melodic endeavour from guitarists Gustav Burn and Max Huddén. Their evocative enticement is a thoughtful and melancholic coaxing behind which a brewing tempest builds before opening its thick arms to welcome pungent beats from drummer Julian Guedj and thick bass sounds from Stefan Bratt. Sonically too the song has grown more tempestuous by this point, but still with some restraint as the walls of the song loom higher and more provocatively over the senses. It is soon a feistily striding march of metal bred tenacity and punk energy though, subsequently coloured by the outstanding tones of Alfaro. A cauldron of passion and craft with an intensity and melodic enterprise to match, the song stirs up ears and appetite with consummate ease whilst proving just an appetiser for bigger things to come.
The following charm and fire of The Curse keeps the vivacious start of the album constant, the at times Greg Graffin like tones of Alfaro roaring over a canvas of sound just as hungrily simmering and at times boiling. Though the song arguably lacks the final spark to match the first, it ignites the imagination with anthemic ease before Cynosure flexes sinews and sculpts an aggressive melodic theatre. The song is somewhere between a romance and a brawl on the senses and virulently captivating. It also shows the ability to seamless slip between unbridled charges driven expertly by Guedj and an increasingly impressive bass sound and enterprise from Bratt, and mellow reflective calm superbly caressed by Alfaro.
Through the similarly melodically and vocally voracious Shallow and the creatively snarling Nemesis, Atlas Losing Grip kicks up another stunning gear, the first of the pair an uncompromising and thoughtful blast of contagious heavy weight pop punk. Its successor equally twists and erupts with an infectiousness to bait body and passions but with a raw and more imposing texture to its inventiveness and blistering sounds. Both though fall into the shadow of the brilliant Closure, an acoustically sculpted ballad showing, as if we needed any more proof, the strength and quality of Alfaro’s voice. Backed as impressively by the band his delivery is embraced in just as evocative melodic scenery woven by the guitars. Adding emotive strokes of strings to seduce ears further, the track fascinates with its mesmeric impassioned presence.
Both the rock pop catchiness of Kings and Fools, which has a slight feel of Living End to it, and the punk storm of Cast Anchor rouse ears and emotions in their individual and similarly tenacious ways whilst Unknown Waters follows with a contemplation of vocal and melodic design which provokes feet and thoughts equally to greedily embrace its fiery elegance and rhythmic incitement. Anthemic vocals and another irresistible predacious bassline stands out before the song stands aside for the drama of The End where bass and drums again steal early attention before sharing attention it with, as expected, the voice of Alfaro and the dynamic energy of the guitars.
One pinnacle of Currents makes way for another in Downwind, as potent a punk and heavy metal anthem as you are likely to hear this year, which applies to the album as a whole too to be fair. The song stomps with heavy booted beats and wiry grooves whilst vigorously rippling with addictive emotion and infectiousness. It is an epidemic of a persuasion and alongside Closure firmly taking top honours. Its might shadows the next up Through the Distance a touch though it cannot diminish the thrilling maze of thrilling imagination and electro whispers nor the turbulent lure of industrious and feverish rock ‘n’ roll shaping the track.
Variety is not absent for long at any point on Currents, the sheer atmospheric and melodic drama of Cold Dirt sending ears and release down new avenues with its harmonic poetry and epic orchestral bred heart. Another big highlight it leaves Ithaka to bring the album to a close with its tribal seeded percussion and sultry melodic climate. Eleven minutes in length, the song never outstays the attention span, only revealing further depths and originality to band and release.
Currents is a gem, one shining brighter with every listen. There is a surprise that not as many songs return in thoughts to nag attention whilst away from the album but this has no impact, not even a whisper, on the weight and glory of the album. As suggested at the start Atlas Losing Grip just get better and better, and even the news that Alfaro has left the band just before the album’s release cannot deflate the band’s certain ascent into the strongest spotlights, especially with a song featuring his placement Niklas Olsson sounding like the vocal department is in safe and accomplished hands.
Currents is available worldwide from 16th January
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