This review of the ‘Atum’ EP originally appeared in The Metal Archives February 18 2014 and was a contribution made by dystopia4.
I’ll start this off by saying approximately half of this is very worthwhile. I almost feel a bit bad about giving Atum a semi-negative review as they definitely have some cool ideas going on and when it gets good, it’s really good. I have yet to delve into their back catalogue, but apparently Duskburn used to be a death metal outfit, but found their material coming out more and more Neurosis influenced so they eventually made the switch to atmospheric sludge. The atmosphere part they definitely have on lock. The sludge part . . . eh, not so much. Although they excel at etching out glorious clean sections, they seem a bit afraid to get their hands dirty. The metal is subdued and leaves me apathetic. Although this group seems to have loads of potential, they don’t yet have the muscle to reach it.
Much of this sounds like Neurosis by way of the already heavily Neurosis influenced Amenra. In fact, the majority of the title track sounds like straight up Enemy of the Sun/Through Silver in Blood worship. Hell, they even have occasional vocals that sound like Neurosis’s bassist, who added some truly depraved bellows every now and again on the band’s earlier albums. They are lacking one thing that has always been a central part of Neurosis’s success, though – their knack for huge fucking riffs. The hackneyed riffs simply don’t do the rest of this release justice. Often quasi-dissonant, they aren’t powerful and honestly I feel like I’ve heard them all before.
The drummer definitely has something cool going on. Featuring hypnotic tom-heavy patterns (yes, once again influenced by Neurosis), his drumming is pretty much the only interesting thing going on during the heavier sections. The bass is also really cool, it has this paradoxical feel of being really dirty and clean at the same time. It’s like if a really dirty, distorted sound was dragged through pristine production. It is especially potent during the lighter bits, seeming to burrow bellow the airy guitars and drag around the muck. Despite the fact that their riffs can’t muster up much strength, they really have the lighter aspects of their sound down. Featuring a picturesque panoramic feel, this does remind of some of Jumalhämärä’s more pleasant sections. The nice twang of the clean guitar is perfect for these parts.
Man, this could have been so good. But they had to make a fairly typical mistake in the atmo-sludge scene and forget to put muscle on their bones. Sure, the atmospheric parts are great, but the meat holding this together just doesn’t hold much weight. It seems like so many bands that are content to ape Neurosis seem to forget just how heavy they can be. It is the contrast between heavy and light that really made them so special. If these dudes beefed up their riffs they could be a band to watch out for in the future, but as of now they are not. Hopefully they’ll have better luck next time. – 65%
You decide if they have enough muscle and potential to be reckoned with in the future….
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