Released: Nove, Nemeton Records
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
Atavicus who are a duo that ascended from the ruins of Draugr-a folk/pagan/black metal group from Chieti, Abruzzo Italy-have signed up with Nemeton records to produce Ad Maiora (To the greatest things), a 7 track EP to put their own stamp on Europe's ever insatiable thirst for this genre of metal. Said to have been born by the winter Solstice of 2013 Atavicus which is taken from the latin 'Atavus' (Anscestor) have designed their music to be based on more traditional, ancient themes with strong Romanesque visuals/themes being used for the artwork and musical content.
The EP opens with an intro track that is quite serene and tranquil. With operatic voices filling the air with a backdrop of synths filling in where an orchestra would normally take place. The intro goes on for over a minute until the EP really begins with 'Sempiterno' a brutal opening that has rapid percussion in wholly black fashion accompanied by a slow but powerful guitar riff. The screaming vocals of Lupus Nemesis (great name) add to the terror brought on with the instruments until around 30 seconds later the synths blare in the background and the atmosphere of the song changes entirely. The song proceeds to weave in and out of the blackened style and into the more folklike, pagan structures for a couple of minutes until the song breaks off into a short acoustic spell, before returning to the synths.
The EP progresses on to 'La Disciplina Dell'Acciaio' a more softer approach with an acoustic beginning that spills into a powerful and enigmatic ballad of sorts. The booming lead vocals dominate the song, with the backing vocals supplying a grittier edge. There are moments of heaviness with a strong presence of double kicks and drumming programmed throughout the song but due to the atmospheric synths and piano fillings, any edge brought by the guitar parts are swallowed. Next comes a shorter instrumental piece titled 'Epos' which could probably make it as the musical backdrop for a scene to some major Hollywood production. Extremely scenic and atmospheric 'Epos' doesn't really include any metal presence but can be respected due to the powerful emotive nature of the song.
The next track 'Lucus Angitiae' bring back the more metal foundations to the EP although keeping to the routine of blaring the synthesizers throughout the song adding an accordion section in the latter stages. Atavicus are back in the swing of using their abilities on the guitar throughout this song but the most prominent feature is the synth rhythm in the background, controlling the whole feel of the song. This is until the last minute of the track where a short spell of potent riffery and heavy drumming steals the show for around 30 seconds until the synths come back to bring the song to a climax.
The EP finishes with a final original piece titled 'Superbia in Proelio' and a cover of Immortal's song 'Tyrants'. The EP announces a bold beginning for Atavicus. They have illustrated an ability to stamp their own individual and quite unique style onto their music. Some will view this as a quite cheesy style but a lot of people may be looking for a pure metal style where Atavicus bring more to the table in terms of diverse song structures. Atavicus implement a high level musical understanding throughout most of the tracks on this EP. There are at sometimes an overuse of the synths in the songs which really do take away from the overall soundness of the music they are creating. It would be interesting to see how they follow up this EP.