Manchester quartet, Atavist, first appeared on the scene in 2004 and after a ten-year hiatus return with their first album in nearly thirteen years. It does not disappoint with members of Winterfylleth, Nine Covens, Satanic Dystopia and a guest appearance from solo cellist, Jo Quail (My Dying Bride/ Mono), creating the magic.
III Absolution is the band’s third offering and takes the listener through a range of human emotions from losing everything to mourning loss and finding a way back to the light again. This is not an easy listen and there is little hope on display, but we can discern a sense of relief in overcoming a gruelling journey, hence the title track, ‘Absolution’.
The album starts with ‘Loss’, a sixteen-minute epic which begins with clean guitars and lush strings to create a morose vibe. These melodies are easy to absorb and will appeal to people that like a variety of rock and metal genres. But the mood changes after three minutes with the crushing doom and distortion underpinning a harsh vocal explosion that erupts like a dormant volcano. The band alternate between calm melodies and noisy guitars for the remainder of the song and there’s always something different and interesting to engage the listener.
‘Struggle’ is a much more intense experience and provides a sense of isolation and claustrophobia. But it’s a rewarding doom epic with sections of bass breaks and interesting chord progressions throughout. A strong black metal influence rumbles under the surface in this track and in all others, which is unsurprising given the other projects of the band members.
With plenty of interesting melodic undertows and black metal atmosphere, the two remaining compositions stick to the death-doom vibe and show no signs of respite. Both smash through the ten-minute mark. This means the album plunges for maudlin slow tempos over speed, although ‘Self Realisation’ has some fast-double bass drumming over the slow doom-laden riffs and will keep death metal and thrash fans happy enough. But, hey, this is doom metal and we wouldn’t want it any other way!
Give these Mancunians a listen. You’ll find a lot to enjoy in this album if you’re a devotee of the darker end of extreme metal (e.g. death-doom, sludge and black metal) and have a penchant for ambient and avant-garde music.
Release Date: 19/06/2020
Record Label: Candlelight Records
Standout tracks: Loss, Absolution
Suggested Further Listening: Esoteric – The Pernicious Enigma (1997), Evoken – Hypnagogia (2018), Ahab – The Call of the Wretched Seas (2006)