Friday 18 February 2022

Atra Haeresis - Pretium

Labels: Death Portal Studio/Kryrart Records/Satanath Records/Void Wanderer Productions

Formats: CD/TapeDigital

Release Date: 26 Aug 2021


1. Hatechrist

2. Man Through Epochs

3. Vaunted Dyer

4. The Sacred Games

5. Pretium?

6. Aendor Witch

2021 was the year in which Russian/Belarussian melodic black/death metal quartet Atra Haeresis released their debut album Pretium. It saw the light of day last August on CD, tape and digital formats via Death Portal Studio (USA), Kryrart Records (Germany), Satanath Records (Russia) and Void Wanderer Productions (Netherlands). I've read some really positive things about Atra Haeresis recently, so this should be a lot of fun!

It’s blowing an absolute gale outside this evening, as a storm’s hit us. As much I like the sound of the wind outside, I also like to drown it out on occasion with metal and this evening I have the company of death/black metal band Atra Haeresis and their 2021 album Pretium. The sound on opener ‘Hatechrist’ is a great mix of brutal and melodic death metal, with blackened tones thrown Into the mix too. The drumming stands out instantly. The bass weaves a nice low-end groove while the guitars move between riffs of up-tempo destruction and simple, catchy treble. The vocals are growled with intensity and precision, very much in a modern way. ‘Man Through Epochs’ comes at you in a much more bombastic, black metal fashion. Not symphonic but rhythmic and colder somehow. As before, the tempos are ridiculous and the lead riffs are proper earworms. There’s an atmospheric, anticipation building pause near the mid-point, where the song drops down a notch. It builds back up again though with the help of a classy guitar solo later on, ending how it began with no nonsense. 

The band’s clinical touches are more obvious on ‘Vaunted Dyer’, with it’s precise instrumentation early on with a mix of harsh vocals and almost esoteric clean chanting joining them. Sometimes, Atra Haeresis remind me of Melechesh in their delivery and that’s a plus point for sure. Obviously the black metal influence is greater here, yet it doesn’t overpower the album and Atra Haeresis still sound approachable, even for those who are yet to venture down the extreme path. Things are different on ‘The Sacred Games’ though as straight from the off there’s much more immediacy from the quartet. That immediacy is replaced by a more stripped back mid-section, with quieter dynamics and almost whispered vocals, which sound very haunting before the dial is turned up again for a rousing finish.

Penultimate song ‘Pretium?’ (Is there supposed to a question mark there?) is a modern metal classic in the making with more memorable riffs and clever melodic vocals jostling for space alongside the band’s pummelling drums and rhythmic low-end. Despite it’s shorter length, ‘Pretium?’ Is teeming with plenty of pleasing layers that make it sound much longer than it is. I’m hearing some Germanic influences here too. Album closer ‘Aendor Witch’ is the metallic, angular hymn that was always destined to conclude this release. It’s once again filled with precise hooks and fantastically solid metal. There’s a huge amount to love about this record. It’s the perfect example of why you should give unfamiliar bands a chance. Atra Haeresis have a very bright future (musically) and I for one can’t wait to hear more.

You can stream and download Pretium below:-

Atra Haeresis -

Physical copies can be purchased from the labels below:-

Satanath Records -

Void Wanderer Productions -

Death Portal Studio -

Kryrart Records -

Satanath Records -

Void Wanderer Productions -

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