Saturday, 8 June 2013

Atragon - Volume 1


Before I press on with reviewing the latest releases from Witch Hunter Records, there's a couple of earlier releases that I want to attend to. The first of those is the mighty two-track CD from Edinburgh doomsters Atragon. It's been quite a while since I featured a band from Auld Reekie, which has always felt like a safe-haven for me. What makes it all the more special is that Atragon are playing a part in the Scottish invasion this weekend by Liverpool's Iron Witch and Corrupt Moral Altar. Damn I wish I was there!

Tracklisting:-

1. The Sound In The Halls
2. Jesus Wept

The bass rumble that opens The Sound In The Halls tells you pretty much all you need to know. That is that you're in for a dark, dank time of it! When the riffs and the drums kick in, that feeling of suffocation gets all the more the greater. The tortured, low screams that can be heard through the mire are not a beacon for safety, but a sign telling you to run as far as you can and escape! Doom metal often conjures up such images; such is its slow and harrowing march. It tramples all in its path. I honestly don't know what it is about Edinburgh that makes it give birth to so many incredibly extreme metal bands, but it keeps doing it. Atragon's sound is pretty much exactly what doom should be. Slow, deep but with a subtle groove that can't help but throw you into a trance.

Atragon follow The Sound In The Halls with an equally sickening bout of depressive doom by the name of Jesus Wept. I bet this would have indeed made Jesus Weep! Unlike the opener, this song features stoner-inspired singing. The pace at the start is more upbeat, but you know it won't stay like that for too long. Is it wrong of me to say that the vocals actually remind me of Matt Bellamy from Muse? You can draw your own conclusions there.  About five minutes in, that upbeat groove is replaced by a slightly more menacing feeling. The tempo begins to slow and the bass becomes a little more prevalent. Things seem a little bit more improvised here, but instead of detracting from any momentum, it adds to it. The low, grooving bass mixed with a winding solo drags the song along, closer to it's eventual conclusion, all the time becoming slower and thicker. Around the ten-minute mark, everything seems to merge into one, like a slowly cooling lava flow. It drags everything in its path towards a final verse, which brings back that oppressive stoner-vibe.

There's nothing you can do but sit and ride it out, knowing that once the haze clears, you've just born witness to one hell of a CD. It may be a mere two tracks, but those two tracks should easily satisfy your thirst for doom. Knowing that we've got homegrown bands like this making their first steps in the doom genre is exciting and they should be embraced. Raise a flagon of whisky and a bong to Atragon!

Breathe the doom-laden air in for yourself by listening to Volume 1 here:-


Volume One is available as a pay-what-you want download from the above bandcamp page, but alternatively you can pick one of one hundred and fifty four panel gatefold CD's from Witch Hunter Records here - http://witchhunterrecords.bigcartel.com/product/atragon-volume-1-cd

Atragon - https://www.facebook.com/AtragonDoom.

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