Pori is a Finnish city that, outside the country, I imagine is best known for its annual jazz festival, which has been held since the sixties. The sound offered by Atlases is quite different, a band that probably won’t be able to compete with that event in terms of popularity, but with their debut full length Haar they are one of the most dazzling surprises of the year. The quintet is catalogued, for not knowing how to read or write, in the post-metal cauldron, but the truth is that these musicians exhibit a proposal that, perhaps for the first time in my memory, is able to combine modern impulses with the melodic and emotional afflatus of the best death doom. Haar is a work that starts deceptively catchy and robust with a bomb as Neophyte, a song that in just over five minutes literally cleans up all the theoretical competition in the modern metal field, but the scenario changes with the soft incipit of the next Centralis, one of the masterpiece tracks of the album: here the post metal intersects with a prodigious and melodic fluidity the harshness of death doom and from the impact it comes out something that, at times, reaches heights of amazing beauty. Heathen Colors brings back (as is normal) to the most persuasive Swallow The Sun, but from the comparison Atlases come out even strengthened as it is clearly perceived as their stylistic figure does not possess anything derivative. The notes that accompany the flight of the alcyon in the fourth instrumental track outline a moving and poetic scenery, but it does not disorient at all the start worthy of Meshuggah of the next Monolithe, because in the sound of these Finns the sorrowful and poetic breath is always well perceivable even if enclosed in a thick and rocky shell. Here’s the post metal, in its purest and incontrovertible meaning, in the other instrumental Seasons Aligned that, as per script, grows like a tide that goes to cover forever our tired limbs; In this splendid alternation it is the turn of Earth Into Ocean to bring out with all its disruptive force that nervous modernity that dissolves, finally, in a Moon Pillar that leads to the melancholic closure of a splendid album, impeccably played by V-V Laaksonen, Nico Brander, Rami Peltola and Jerkka Perälä, and superbly interpreted vocally by Jani Lamminpää. Atlases, who had already prepared the ground two years ago with the ep Penumbra, find their personal philosopher’s stone in a way that could not have been bettered, assembling at their best all those ingredients that in the hands of others become just a jumble of sounds put together in bulk: Haar is the practical demonstration of what results can come out when talented musicians instead of mediocre assemblers handle the seven notes.
2019 – Rain Without Ends Records