Atriarch – Ritual of Passing

Where I may enjoy the occasional band such as Hateful Abandon who effectively and shamelessly ape a post punk/goth aura ala Joy Division on their excellent album Famine (or Into the Bellies of Worms), Portland, Oregon’s Atriarch are far more inventive and sneaky when it comes time to assimilate decades of dark music, reinvent and pervert them into a uniquely interesting form of blackish metal. Having never heard this band before, Atriarch’s pension for not settling on the easy stylistic watermark when it comes to shaping a foundation that is definitely within the metal realm is refreshing, for their tinkering with fashionable post punkish and noisey drones as found on the early PIL reminiscent (vocally as well) track “Altars” was surprising and very powerful thanks to the bands sensible use of dynamics and confident/unique pitch vocals. For this track, the drums and bass offer a platform in much the same way the Alternative bands of old such as The Cure, and the aforementioned Joy Division, PIL and the like did it, for the clattering/treble noise of the guitars to swell and subside overhead like a sonic tide, eroding the shores of your conscious with a hypnotic/infectious atmosphere and an underlying misery. The guitar tone maintains its sharp and cutting hooks throughout the brunt of Ritual of Passing, offering fuller powerchords when the infrequent blast beat erupts to greet more harshly screamed vocals. From poignant spoken passages that sound quite militant in delivery, to more tuneful crooning, chants, and the aforementioned BM screams, Lenny Smith dominates on this album and proudly demonstrates how many different musical styles have shaped his delivery and made him a well rounded weapon when it comes to empowering the at times airy, and others very cold/cityscape sounding songs that make up Ritual of Passing. This is one of those albums that will appeal to and reward those of you out there that are patient listeners… those who enjoy sitting through minimal tracks like “Cursed” with it’s barren, Swans inspired crawl to see what is born out of the journey. Even though Ritual of Passing ends up being quite “metal” in feel, it really is the lesser influence when you look at the way these songs are constructed and presented. Having been old enough to have dabbled in and still enjoy the styles of music this band gleans inspiration from, I must applaud Atriarch for their fearless wandering on paths less traveled. -Marty
Profound Lore Records

~ by martyworm on October 24, 2012.

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