Reviewed: August 2022
Released: 2022, self-released
Reviewer: Kira Levine
Black metal Portuguese-Romanian duo Atrate have been active since early 2021. A year after their formation, the international outfit have unleashed their debut On The Verge Of What We Belong To. Atrate is an obsolete word, meaning ‘one dressed in black’ or ‘a mourner’.
“Intrusive Axiom” is a brief intro that sets a dissonant scene, the music slow and heavy under extremely deep, growled vocals that build together with an ominous effect. Blast beats announce the arrival of “Waning Remnants”, commanding the record to speed up momentarily. The sense of threat increases here, as the lyrics become darker. “Self-replicating Heralds of Malarkey” reveals another layer of evil through the subhuman sounds the vocalist makes, while proving that extreme metal does not always have to be fast to be frightening.
Atrate continue to unsettle with macabre track “The Amaurotic Sons of Aporia”, with spells of sinister laughter and tension-building passages. “Skin Limited” is as morbid as its title suggests, seemingly told from the perspective of a dead person, closing with the lines ‘I remember only that when i came to die / I discovered that I had never lived”. Chaotic number “Ekpyrotic Visions” is the second shortest and most energetic, delivering an adrenaline rush after its predecessor’s surprisingly tranquil ending. “Deracinated Humanocentrism” takes all the highlights heard previously to another level, especially musically. Episdoes of suspense, sudden tempo changes and subhuman delivery of the lyrics all result in five minutes of delightful dread.
Listening to On The Verge Of What We Belong To, it can easy to forget there are only two members of Atrate. While what they have created here is not exactly groundbreaking, the avant-garde style of black metal that is performed over menacing words (concerning themes such as the human condition and philosophy) will surely haunt those who hear it long after the half-hour experience is over.