August 13, 2013

Atriarch - Ritual Of Passing

Review by Natalie Zina Walschots. Originally published here by Exclaim.

Artwork by Stevie Floyd.

Note: The review was written in 2012.

Portland, OR-based, doom-soaked, gothic death rock-drenched outfit Atriarch have had a dizzyingly prolific year. Their debut album, Forever the End, was released in 2011 and introduced their sound by painting a stark, spiky musical landscape. Earlier this year, their split with Alaric added breadth and depth, exploring the more emotive caverns and crevasses of the doom spectrum. Now, with sophomore effort The Ritual of Passing, Atriarch have tightened the seams between their various influences.

Photos by brandi.

The blackened quality of the guitar is no longer merely freezer-burnt in its chilliness, but genuinely hypothermic, spreading across the record organically like tendrils of hoarfrost. For all their noisy squall, Atriarch also masterfully deploy a much more controlled low end, a deep and rhythmic drone that evokes a sense of ritual and gravitas. It's the atmosphere of The Ritual of Passing that makes the record excellent, from the beckoning, creepy ominousness of "Altars" that sounds both like an invitation and a threat to the stalking, seductive horror of the outro. Atriarch have evolved from a promising band to watch to an act that have our undivided attention.

[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]

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