Released: 2011, Profound Lore Records
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
I was introduced to the Atlas Moth earlier this year when they were the opening act on this year’s Metalliance tour. The first of seven acts on the bill, the band had the never easy task of warming up an anxious crowd that was only really interested in seeing the night’s headliners on stage. The Chicago sextet only got a 15 minute set, but they put on a performance that would have made you think they were headlining at Madison Square Garden. And the crowd ate it up. Heavy, heavy, doom influenced riffs that were unquestionably metal, the Atlas Moth’s unique blend of dense, melodic sludge set the bar crazy high for every band that followed that night. I’ve since made myself familiar with The Atlas Moth’s previously available body of work (‘08s PRAY FOR TIDES E.P. and ‘09s A GLORIFIED PIECE OF BLUE SKY), but it’s their recently released sophomore full length that we’re here to discuss. AN ACHE FOR THE DISTANCE has been getting plenty of hype and publicity in the metal press since its release in September, and rightfully so. And no, not just because there’s a butt nekkid lady on the album cover. Well okay, maybe just a little bit.
In all seriousness folks, AN ACHE FOR THE DISTANCE is a sonically rich slab of diverse, doom inspired tunes. The band incorporates 3 guitars into the mix as well as plenty of keyboard elements, so while each track shares a foundation of trudging riffs, there’s always a wall of different sounds cascading against that foundation. The album’s production is clean and sharp, allowing each nuance of the band’s sound to eek through, but not at the expense of sounding heavy. That foundation of trudging riffs gives AN ACHE FOR THE DISTANCE some real weight that’s reminiscent of their live prowess. The nine tracks on the album each feature powerful, punchy riffs and accentuated guitar harmonies that allowing degrees of melody into the fray. The album truly succeeds when listened to in its entirety, but exceptional tracks like “Coffin Varnish,” “Perpetual Generations” and the peyote infused “Holes in the Desert” stand out among the batch. The songs never get showy, but the Atlas Moth knows how to create songs of consistent quality and depth, while keeping the whole affair massively heavy.
Did I mention that there’s a nekkid lady on the cover?
The Atlas Moth is going to be a band to watch out for in the coming year. AN ACHE FOR THE DISTANCE is the kind of album that can take a burgeoning, talented band to the next level of success. Fans of Mastodon, Kylesa, Crowbar, and heavy music in general should check this one out before being accused of jumping on the bandwagon later. AN ACHE FOR THE DISTANCE is out now via Profound Lore Records.