I still remember when I first listened to the Atlas Moth debut album, A Glorified Piece of Blue Sky. Instantly I thought that this heavy psychedelic doom/sludge band was on to something really great. The sonic experimentation and the insane weight of the band combined with sick riffs and screaming vocals was an unbelievable record to process. And when their sophomore album, An Ache for the Distance, came out it was obvious that Atlas Moth had achieved what they were set out to do. The compositions of their second album were much better laid out and the sound was immense. And so here we are now with Atlas Moth releasing their newest album, The Old Believer, and of course they do not disappoint. Even though the leap from An Ache for the Distance to The Old Believer was not as big as the leap from their debut to their second album, it is still obvious that the band is undergoing a procedure of constant evolution.
The opening song, “Jet Black Passenger,” really makes an impact with the riffs hooking you immediately to The Old Believer. The band soon lets its psychedelic nature take hold, and the way it is combined with the weight and sorrow of doom, it becomes inescapable. And then they even go and top that! “Collider” comes with some serious intentions and as the screaming vocals tear through space and time the unique aspect of the band is revealed. The way that Atlas Moth puts their three guitars into use is something awe inspiring, creating a very dense musical space in which the band will make you lose all sense of reality.
As “The Sea Beyond” comes in, Atlas Moth makes an impressive change. The track is much more emotional and when ethereal guitar melodies combine with infernal riffs, and the psychedelic influences of the band even merging with some shoegaze tendencies, Atlas Moth is further expanding its musical horizons. This becomes quite obvious when “Halcyon Blvd” comes in. The band combines meditative moments with full-blown trippy outbreaks, splattering the soundscapes in splendid colors. It becomes quite obvious that a few things have changed in The Old Believer. The first being that this album features much more vocals, both clean and screams. Just listen to the clean vocal part of “Sacred Vine,” this thing can bring down walls! In addition to that, the band is implementing (and quite successfully) some shoegaze sounds to their music. Both changes work really well for the band and make this album much more interesting.
The album seems more complex but more accessible at the same time. The ability of the band to come up with insane riffs and spiraling melodies, as is the case with “Sacred Vine” and the title track. Not to mention their capability to sonically terrorize you with their great use of effects. “City of Light” reveals the more aggressive side of the band, as the melodies start to become more bitter and the ambiance more suffocating, but it is not until “Wynona” comes in that the true extent of the band’s brutality is shown. Atlas Moth does not hold back for that one, making it one of the most interesting and at the same time challenging listens of the album. The lead parts, halfway in the song are absolutely transcending while the destructive distorted end bit will make you start questioning your sanity.
On the other hand, songs such as “Hesperian,” “Blood will Tell” and the title track have a quite opposite outlook. The band seems to be much more interested in coming up with great hooking melodies that you will not be able to forget for a long time. The end part of “Hesperian” is simply out of this world, the circling guitar lines of the title track are mesmerizing and then thundering riffs of the closing song bids you farewell in the most suitable way conceivable.
Atlas Moth is on a journey, and they are not standing still. The Old Believer is a testament to this, and their ability to incorporate new aspects to their musical structure is what makes them such a fucking unique and enjoyable listen. Do not miss out on this release! And by the way: cover art that changes under water!? That alone is enough to make you at least curious to check them out if you are not familiar with the Atlas Moth!
9.0 / 10
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