Atrox - Contentum
Season Of Mist
Theatrical Gothic Metal
11 songs (64'55")
Release year: 2000
Atrox, Season Of Mist
Reviewed by Alex
Archive review

Atrox hail from Norway and were a complete dark horse for me. Under these circumstances you want the first impression to be a good one, but it wasn’t. The track listing on the back of the promo copy and what actually appears on the CD are completely different. Overall, all titles are present, but the order is totally scrambled, and what is supposed to be two tracks as the back of the promo indicates is actually a single track on the CD. I am already peeved …

Then, there are the vocals. If I said Atrox employs the most annoying female singer it would be an understatement. I am not saying she does not have a nice voice. It is a floating soprano so popular these days with many gothic acts. She can reach some high notes very nicely, but overall the fit between the music and the vocals is simply not there. To begin with, the band uses a shitload of vocal effects – not necessary, if you ask me. Then, the singer tries to sing with these Eastern influences using a lot of vibrato in her voice. Instead, if I put it nicely, it sounds like somebody is going through a bunch of vocal lessons. If I try to be mean, squealing hysterical cat in heat would be a fitting description. Worst of all, the production calls for the vocals to be the focal point of the whole record. They are up front in every song completely obscuring everybody else.

Having listened to Contentum a number of times, I have taught myself not to pay attention to the vocals anymore. When you do that you can hear that the musicians are actually quite decent. The keyboard/guitar melody on Unsummoned floating atop the fast snare kicks is straight out of a good atmospheric black album. Double bass powered riffs in Homage, and overall progressive syncopated stop-go playing in Ignoramus and Serenity are very good. It is on Serenity and What Crawls Underneath Atrox approach something that is enjoyable. Heavy bottom end contrast the soprano and things jive together. Too bad those moments are just that, moments, making the overall record below average.

The band is after weird theatrical atmosphere. That is why some of those jester-clown vocal effects are used, and frozen electronic sounds make appearance. The promo claims this is supposed to push the genre clichés into extravaganza. Well, I am not getting it. This is just plain weird, and what is weird isn’t always good. Some passages sound like Pink Floyd on amphetamine.

It is too bad, that a bunch of good musicians can’t find their groove. Listening to Atrox made me appreciate even more the excellent balance After Forever and Dreams of Sanity have struck with their brand of gothic metal.

Killing Songs :
Unsummoned, Serenity
Alex quoted 42 / 100
Other albums by Atrox that we have reviewed:
Atrox - Binocular reviewed by Goat and quoted 75 / 100
1 readers voted
You did not vote yet.
Vote now

There are no replies yet to this review
Be the first one to post a reply!