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4 stars A long journey to the impenetrable minds of six genes, so you could comment on the entire discography of ATROX, Norwegian band, which today represents one of the spearheads in the metal edge.

For a first listen to this "Contentum" we see that the Norwegian proposal for these is at least unusual: continual changes of time, carpets of double bass drum, guitars and bass that often express themselves in complicated solos and, above all, a singer, Monica Edvardsen capable of weaving vocal lines allucinanti hallucinated and hours trying to take notes very high (almost the whistle) lower hours, all done with a theatricality found in no other singer I have heard so far happened. Musically, the platter is quite compact, though inside you may see many instrumental digressions that, unlike what happens in other groups, further enriching a sound of its already well-supplied, and the compositions are all, or almost built in an atmosphere cold and sad, almost autumnal, even if occasionally make their appearance of the most schizophrenic, which is glimpsed the desire to change direction towards more solar beaches, such as abundant in the six minutes of the opening track " Air sultry ", most likely the song, along with" Lizard Dance " less melancholic disk.

On the other hand we find pieces full of tension as the second "Unsummoned, desperate in his slow gait, which lies perfectly the painful voice of Monica, which omits the lines of his typical cameo or" chameleo sung, in favor of a more attentive to the emotional side of music. Even on these coordinates was "Letters To Earth", a beautiful black pearl, which do not leave our room for thoughts of freedom, building a piece claustrophobic absolutely "closed" that leaves no breathing space. Of course in this trip you can also find more pieces of "way" or at least non-specific, such as "Panta Rei (Gather In Me No More) ', lunga suite of 10 minutes, closer to the progressive all'avantgarde schizzoide not met so far, that plays on and rhythmic changes of atmosphere, using mainly the length, or "ignoramus", the piece easy-listening (even if talk of easy listening seems pretty risky to me) of the lp. Technically, the album has such structures as particularly complex, the musicians will show all technically trained and demonstrate without fear of tripping in pointless exhibitionism, thanks to a song-writing level enviable.

Report this review (#230816)
Posted Monday, August 10, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Atrox is an tech/extreme progressive band from Norway releasing 5 albums 'till present. This is their second one from 2000 named Contentum. This norwegian band gathered around the impressive female vocalist Monika Edvardsen is full of talent and full of unexpected great ideas. No wonder, because the often comapration between them and The 3rd And The Mortal are fond, because Monika is the sister of Ann Mari the femal vocalist of the lastest. Musicaly speaking Atrox can carry you in a great atmospheric and hypnotic journey, all album is full of great and inventiv passages. Toying with avand garde in places Atrox really knew how to make a solid album with brilliant passages and absolutly amazing vocal arrangements. This album is the one you love it or hate it, no middle way, for sure. Contentum is an album where nothing seems planned yet in some magical way it all seems to flow with intensity, and the listner is very pleased in the end, like I am. About the instrumental passages are very carefull done, with a lot of atmospheric keyboards made by Monika, very well interlude with the rest of the instruments, the guitar is heavy in places sounds very doomy, as I like to hear on this kind of music, the drums are aswell very doom in places, only very rare they speed up, but the result is awesome. Now about the hypnotic and haunting voice of Monika and in same time emotional tone, who is one of the best I ever heared on this kind of music, very talented girl, with an impressive range, from falsetto moments,, theatrical up and downs and above all some jaw dropping high pitched vocals, sometimes she remind me in places of her sister from The 3rd And The Mortal and even of Diamanda Galas, but not a copy of both for sure.I tell you, you won't listen every day such complex voice and such powerfull combinations of operatic and chaotic vocals. All pieces are excellent, specially the second track Unsummoned, this is the perfect example how must sound this genre in this decade, excellent pieces with atmospheric keyboards and doomy guitars, Letters To Earth and Gather in Me no More, the rest are also brilliant. I will give 4 stars, one of the best albums in this subgenre and one of the best from Scandinavia and Europe aswell, recommended for sure. Imagine that you combine the progressive elements of Dream Theater for ex with the doomy atmosphere of My Dying Bride and you got Atrox.

Report this review (#250083)
Posted Thursday, November 12, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Contentum" is the 2nd full-length studio album by Norwegian avant garde/progressive metal act Atrox. The album was released through Season Of Mist in August 2000. It's safe to say that the band's debut album "Mesmerised (1997)" isn't the most promising debut album I've ever heard, and I guess I'm not the only one a bit reluctant to check out "Contentum", because it took the band a fairly long time to find a label after "Contentum" was recorded in April 1999.

As it turns out Atrox have improved about 200% since the debut album and "Contentum" shows a band full of confidence, delivering intriguing music in a convincing manner. Stylistically the music on "Contentum" is probably still an aquired taste though. It's a mix of doom and goth metal with avant garde and progressive elements. While it's definitely metal, the guitars on the album actually only play a minor role and mostly work as a backing instrument and atmospheric keyboards and adventurous vocals are the dominant elements on the album. The strong rhythm section play some pretty great things too (the musicianship are generally on a very high level), but that part of the music also play second violin to especially the female vocals by Monika Edvardsen.

On the debut album I thought she sounded forced and out of key, but here she performs on an amazing technical level. Imagine if Kate Bush had turned into an evil and wicked singing witch from the middle east, who could also perform semi- operatic vocals and you're halfway there. Edvardsen moans, screams, sings hauntingly beautiful clean vocals, talk/sings, use middle eastern vibrato extensively, and is more than worth the price of admission throughout the album. But she is so extreme in her delivery that it is bound to be an aquired taste if her vocals will appeal to you. So consider yourself warned. This is not music for the masses.

The material on the album are generally intriguing, dynamic, and well written, although it's seldom instantly memorable and the complexity of the vocal lines often disturbs parts that could have been catchy. But this is obviously not music written with the primary purpose of being catchy. This is music written to be challenging both for the artist and for the listener, and challenged you will be, if you'll hold on for the duration of the 11 track, 65 minutes long album. Personally I could have wished for a few more hooks throughout the album and at times Edvardsen's vocals feel more like a show-off than anything that fits the songs, but ultimately I accept the premise that my musical conservatism is being challenged. A 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is deserved.

Report this review (#1702307)
Posted Wednesday, March 15, 2017 | Review Permalink

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