Hypnotic Dirge Records
(Released: February 2015)
Hailing from North Carolina, Atten Ash create intoxicating death-doom that blends the majestic freedom and expressiveness of Hamferd with the heavyweight despondency of Daylight Dies. The latter connection is hardly surprising, with Barre Gambling, founding guitarist of Daylight Dies, wielding the axe here.
Atten Ash are generous guys, it seems. They pack a hell of a lot of ideas into each song, resulting in an extremely rich and fulfilling listening experience. And yet this US trio – completed by growler Archie Hunt and founder James Greene – are also wily enough not to over-extend within the framework of each arrangement – they develop and embellish their concepts with febrile imagination, while remembering to keep it accessible.
‘The Hourglass’ is a consistently surprising and pleasing album that maintains a high level of quality throughout. Atmospheric and captivating, it is delivered with effortless elegance, whether it’s mid-tempo, string-snapping, snare-pounding catharsis or slow, catastrophic elegy.
Raw growled vocals interweave with beautiful clean singing. Blissful, memorable choruses (“See you… never!”) soar above thick, sweetly melodic guitars. Once or twice, things get a little too delicate and pretty, and there are a few unnecessary, drifting interludes (notably on the otherwise spectacular track ‘Born’). The over-layered vocal harmonies, while expertly handled, can prove a bit of a Daft Punk-style distraction in places, and in fact can be counter-productive in draining out some of the music’s raw energy.
This album was recorded in 2012, but its original, slightly half-hearted release went under-appreciated. So Canadian label Hypnotic Dirge have stepped in to give it the kind of launch it deserves. ‘The Hourglass’ is a thundering success that brings exquisite melody to the moribund world of death-doom metal.
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Stream / download two advance tracks: https://hypnoticdirgerecords.bandcamp.com/alb…/the-hourglass