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Atmospheres - The Departure CD (album) cover




Experimental/Post Metal

4.83 | 5 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars It's always amazing to see where the new trends in music emerge from.

Not even 10 years ago, everyone was talking about "djent". Once the mainstream metal community finally acknowledged and embraced the sound of Meshuggah, everyone wanted to play drop a and crunch every amp and subwoofer into noisy cacophonic oblivion. Except, the problem with that is the fact that the music is terrible, one dimensional and gives you a migraine every three seconds.

So, what if we did a complete 180 and go ambient, using djent chords as a textural counterpoint to ambient and spacey soundscapes?

Enter Atmospheres.

While Skyharbor takes this recipe and adds dynamic vocalization from the insanely talented Daniel Thompson and insanely good instrumentation, Atmospheres goes for the minimalist approach. The album's opener, "Sun", opens with a thematic drum groove before reverb laden guitars come in with this hypnotic, almost trance like melody. Once the drums subside, it feels like you've been left to drift in space, and this mellow procedure repeats before the guitars slam on the distortion while the syncopated drum groove continues playing while the same key churns behind in a minimalistic approach. If it weren't for the syncopated and atypical drum patterns, it'd frankly be hard to stay awake for this album and that'd be a damn shame because you'd miss some great tunes.

This is the Atmospheres sound, minimalistic syncopation with heavy distortion in great, big open choruses. "The Furthest Star" is proof, probably with the catchiest chorus you'll find. If there was a genre called Space Metal, Atmospheres would be the figurehead. "Void" is just new age mood music until the drums and guitars (sort of gently) come on halfway through while a piano plucks the same motif throughout the entire song. It's so good I've used it as my alarm clock wake up song (no joke).

Is it repetitive? Absolutely, but that's minimalism's calling card. It's heavy, yet hypnotic, with slight subtle differences such as a gentle modulation in chords during "Into Orbit" (hell, the song titles relate to space, if that doesn't sell you on the concept, I don't know what will).

From groovy tracks like "Satellite", soundscapes like "Lanaikea", hypnotic contemplative tunes like "Direction" and even some post-rock influence on "The Departure", Atmospheres is a band that has carved out a new direction (and I think a new genre) with their sound, joining groups like Skyharbor, Tesseract, Disperse and Vallis Ablaze, among many others, in opting for a texture balance with a spacey approach by juggling heavy minimalistic chords with ambient soundscapes and lush electronics. It's a unique, progressive and yet accessible (my three main judging criteria for great prog albums). Definitely a must listen for fans of djent or even post rock/metal groups like ISIS.

Wicket | 5/5 |


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