Saturday, January 19, 2008

Atavist - II: Ruined

Atavist – II: Ruined
Profound Lore Records

The sludge and doom genres hold a slippery slope in the realm of talent and personal style. Any asshole can write slow riffs or stand in front of a full stack, shoving a guitar into the speakers and ‘utilizing’ feedback. With the increase in popularity of slow arts (just like with any sub-genre or musical faction), every now and then there’s an equalizer that sets the bar. Crushes the bullshit. Pulls all the punches there are to pull. Ave Manchester, England’s Atavist.

II: Ruined boasts some of the most fucking painful sounding guitar that it’s hard to imagine what it’s like to stand in front of these guys in a live setting. Each note might as well be like having rocks thrown into your face, over and over again. The bass drives the lows so heavy that the mix seems to clip at times. The vocals are a throaty scream that don’t sound contrived, nor do they provide a huge contrast with the sounds of the instruments – all of the elements utilized are very well placed and effective. Within II: Ruined’s duration the band also incorporates acoustic guitar passages accompanied by piano, crawling tempos, effective use of feedback, and plenty of space to let atmosphere build before incorporating vocals. By far, my favorite track is
'V.' (total running time of 16:53), which begins with a short build that sounds like a His Hero Is Gone riff before suddenly crawling through a long dirge and continuing to evolve through mid-tempo grooves and haunting passages, all before crushing your ass and ending with a staccato guitar piece.

The North American version released via Profound Lore Records boasts six original compositions, simply titled in roman numerals, of depressive and extremely slow sludge/doom metal. Also included is a bonus track, a cover of Grief’s ‘I Hate The Human Race’. This record is solid from start to finish and if it sits filed away after a few listens that’s your own goddamn fault. Atavist has conjured up something worthy of continued listening without having to rely on antics, the ex-members/former bands ‘thing’, or incorporating anything unnecessary into this slab of heaviness. Hails!