The Atlas Moth - An Ache For The Distance
Profound Lore Records
Atmospheric Sludge/Doom Metal
9 songs (44:48)
Release year: 2011
Official Myspace, Profound Lore Records
Reviewed by Khelek
Archive review

The Atlas Moth is a band that was new to me up until a few months ago. When I heard this album on their bandcamp page, I knew I had found something I could really sink my teeth into. The guys from Chicago, Illinois play a particular type of sludgy atmospheric metal that is very well done. The musicianship and songwriting abilities on display are impressive, the guitar work especially tight in both the melodic leads and crushing riffs. Bands like this are the reason I really appreciate the sludge genre and its stripped-down-yet-complex approach to music.

Coffin Varnish starts the album off with some reverberating guitar leads that are sharp and desolate, the feeling being lonely yet calm and smooth. Perpetual Generations introduces some clean vocals that I think fit well with the sonic wall created by the massive riffs and heavy, rhythmic drumming of Anthony Mainiero. I love the dissonant guitar notes backed with the groovy riffs that begin Holes In The Desert, the sounds of guitar shooting through the uniform drumming as the riffs charge forward. The slight reverb on everything makes me feel like I'm in some massive chamber, perhaps beneath the Earth itself. Perhaps the band is playing inside a sinkhole on some sandy, deserted planet. The soft keyboard notes that make up the foreground during some of the later parts is a nice touch. The vocals also take on many forms, from the deep chant-like backing vocals to inhuman screams of David Kush and Stavros Giannopoulos, it's nice to see a band utilizing most if not all of their members to contribute varying styles of vocalizations. The idea of this sound is largeness, a certain lonely, epic aesthetic that reverberates throughout this album. I think it certainly bears a resemblance to Summoning's sound sometimes. Despite its sort of wandering, and at times completely lost, feelings, the album clearly has a purpose and complexity that is unique. These guys have clearly been influenced by other atmospheric extreme metal acts, but they have learned rather than copied.

Gemini starts off softly with synths, the drums moving in with a slow tempo and the wailing guitars more subdued this time. The vocals are slow, almost spoken at first, before the tortured growls and screams come in. Once again it's an interesting atmosphere, and feels longer than its 3 minute duration. The title track uses heavy riffs right from the start, along with the layered guitar wails and moans. It starts off slow, but the riffs do get this sort of groove energy about a minute and a half into it that is fun to listen to. Sounds like a way slowed down and more dissonant version of Gojira. Courage sounds like a part 2 of Gemini, with the exact same keyboard tones and the simple yet effective melodic guitars in the background. The final track, Horse Thieves, is basically the definition of sludge, the riffs heavy and barely moving, backed by indecipherable yells and screams of Kush and Giannopoulos. I realize at this point that some people have probably given up on this band due to the vocals, but that's too bad. The instruments are of course very interesting, but the contrast between the clean and growled vocals is excellent in my opinion and adds more depth.

The bottom line is, if you enjoy bands such as Isis, Gojira, and Rwake, then this is definitely for you. If you haven't heard these guys at least check them out on bandcamp or grooveshark. There is a lot to take in on this album, I've listened to it many times, and I still hear new things each time I listen. It's music that you have to be in a certain mood to listen to, but once you really sit down and give it the time it deserves it's one of those albums that is very absorbing.

Killing Songs :
Coffin Varnish, Holes In The Desert, An Ache For The Distance, Horse Thieves
Khelek quoted 85 / 100
Other albums by The Atlas Moth that we have reviewed:
The Atlas Moth - The One Amongst the Weed Fields reviewed by Crash and quoted no quote
The Atlas Moth - A Glorified Piece of Blue Sky reviewed by Charles and quoted 80 / 100
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