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Atrium - 2011 CD (album) cover

2011

Atrium

 

Neo-Prog

2.74 | 16 ratings

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Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer
2 stars '2011' - Atrium (4/10)

With their greatest achievements thus far having been opening for Asia and Barclay James Harvest when those bands toured through Portugal, one can already get a good sense of what Atrium are about. Prog rock synthesizers, accessible arrangement and songwriting, and a quaint lust for melody are what drives '2011', their debut. While this is not a bad album, I cannot say I have been too impressed by what these guys have done here; a saccharine and somewhat amateurish attempt at neo-prog that never emerges from underneath the shadow of its influences.

The bands of which Atrium have clearly derived much of their sound from are the neo-prog heavyweights; Marillion and Pendragon, to name a couple. I would even compare Atrium's sound to the pop-oriented sounds of later Genesis; certainly not something that many prog fans will be too enthused to hear, but there is certainly more going on here than a pop label would suggest. Many of these songs run up the ten minute range, although the effectiveness of these mini-epics is dubious at best. The instrumentation is filtered through a plain recording, and while there are some pleasant sounding guitars and synths at work, there was never more than an idea or two that stuck with me, even after a few listens. The vocals reminded me most of a heavily accented Phil Collins, and while the vocals of this band are not atrocious, the voices and harmonies sound a little flat. Overall, the presentation shows promise, but passes me more as a work in progress, rather than the sort of album I would be returning to for repeated listens.

Another thing I could note is the length of the album, which- for a record which is mostly rooted in pop- feels a little too long for its own good. I do feel that had this album ended a couple of songs earlier, it would have been much easier to overlook the flaws in the musical formula, but at sixty-five minutes in length, the listener becomes well familiarized with what works- and what doesn't in Atrium's sound. I cannot say my interest was much sparked by this debut from these Portuguese pop-proggers, but with the signs of promise and intrigue in this album, I would not yet write them off completely.

Conor Fynes | 2/5 |

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