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Arx Atrata
February 2014
Released: 2013, elf-released
Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: UK Team

The UK has certainly exploded with some serious talent within the Black Metal genre over recent years and Arx Atrata are yet another addition to this latest movement with their ambient and staggering sound that is reminiscent of bands such as Coldworld and Aggaloch.

Opening with ‘Winter’ the symphonic layers breeze through with a bleak coldness as the guitars wade in with a brooding sense of tension. Before long the frost bitten shrieks intrude with speedy drums as bitter sounding tonality runs its course. Clean vocals also find room to work with, providing a mournful backdrop against the desolate soundscape.

Next up, ‘The Hour’ carries forward many of these qualities to a slower yet equally as intense pace with cathartic guitars setting the atmospheric bar high very early on. Meanwhile, the blood thirsty growls remain as distinctive as ever with no sign of yielding, as the drums resonate full of density. The clean guitars toward the later half take a minimalist approach to melody with a windy atmospheric coating to keep the bleak tapestry intact.

‘The Broken Man’ features some of the band’s most solid drum work as the track pulsates aggression as the guitars maintain a sinister stance throughout. The lead guitarist throws in some well balanced solos which serve as an extra layer, as everything subsides into delicate melodies and builds up again in an organic manner.

Closing off with ‘Forsaken’ the orchestral textures sweep over the guitars as the vocals pierce through with blistering precision. There is also a good use of keys scattered throughout as the band shed their skin into a more sombre sounding beast.

Despite the record being short in length, the amount of ground covered made it feel deeper and vaster than the average 5 track EP. Although it will require a few listens to get the full impact, their approach to atmospheric Black Metal is one that is both overwhelming and immersive. The only downside is that the band do lack a certain immediacy aspect to their style which is something that may turn some listeners away. However, you really need to stick with this record to reap the full benefits and you’ll find yourself becoming pulled into their world of isolation in no time. Definitely something to get you through the coldest season of the year. Great work guys.

Review by: Ben Spencer
Track Listing

1. Winter
2. The Hour
3. Through Dying Lands
4. The Broken Man
5. Forsaken



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