Atoma - Skylight
Napalm Records
Atmospheric Proggresive Metal
10 songs (52:12)
Release year: 2012
Napalm Records
Reviewed by Cory

Listening to Atoma’s Skylight is like watching a painting being created before your eyes. There are moments of brilliance, and moments that you question because you would have done them differently, but at no point can you deny or fail to appreciate the artistry involved in its creation. Skylight is an atmospheric album to the highest level, and at no point does it cater towards anything less than its creators artistic intentions. Using the premise of space exploration (a subject I feel is ripe for interpretation and currently underused by the metal community) following the decline of the Earth, Atoma delivers a slowly evolving look into the mind of the explorers as they travel through the wonders (and ultimately the vast emptiness) of space. Using wandering guitar leads, abstract sound effects, and lengthy instrumental passages to create this effect, your enjoyment of this album will ultimately depend on your willingness to lose yourself within the atmospheres created and your ability to mine them for the gold hidden there, while overlooking a lack of immediate riff oriented gratification (thrash metal this is not).

Formed in 2011 after the demise of doom band Slumber, the three members of Atoma have opted to focus on a purely atmospheric progressive metal approach. The result is an album that is both beautiful in concept and somewhat flawed in execution. What begins as a rumbling explosion evolves into an art rock fueled ambience that is both intriguing and difficult to digest at times. Opening track Atoma is as brilliant a start as you could hope for, an instrumental that actually succeeds in building up a staggering amount of anticipation through tribal drum beats that escalate into a firestorm, reminding me of a space shuttle preparing for launch. The pay-off is fully recognized in the title track that follows, with an explosion of activity that propels us through the atmosphere, complete with death vocals to compliment those soothing and airy clean vocals that are the standard for Skylight. Yet it is once we break the border between Earth and space that the album becomes a far more abstract work, and it is here that some will lose interest. Hole in the Sky begins with a steady rocking riff that works well, and the song is a highlight of the album. Highway becomes less focused, introducing more instrumental passages and a more atmospheric approach, yet still maintains a familiar structure. Bermuda Riviera is where things begin to lose focus, and while musically intriguing I found it to be less involving than anything before it. The remainder of the album follows this format as well, with certain tracks like Resonance and Cloud Nine being truly engaging works, and others like Solaris and Saturn and I simply leaving the listener somewhat adrift.

Ultimately beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and just as with any painting you alone will gage the worth of Skylight. For me, I find this to be an incredibly dense album, and one that will probably grow on me over time with some assistance from my good friend Samuel Adams (the “always a good decision” guy). Yet as of now I consider it to be a good album somewhat lost in its own Pink Floyd’esque nature. Recommended for those that enjoy a challenging listening experience whole heartedly, but others that get easily bored with less riff driven fare should probably look elsewhere.

Killing Songs :
Skylight, Hole in the Sky, Resonance, and Cloud Nine
Cory quoted 78 / 100
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