ATOLL NERAT "Art of Ancient Seers"
On the ATOLL NERAT homepage it says something about "Russian Toltek Dark Metal", about "psychedelic paranormal reality Metal". What does that tell us? I have no clue whatsoever and who ever has complained about absurd style descriptions will have a field day with this quintet from Okhansk (somewhere around the Ural). So what is it that lurks behind this strange descriptions musically? A mix of Doom, Death and a bit of Black Metal it is, which at first and also second listen won't let you in that easily and therefore will lead to shaking heads (no, not headbanging) among most Metalheads or a light screaming fit. But you only have to give "Art Of Ancient Seers" a bit of time to unfold, because the song material definitely is not bad! What strikes right from the beginning is that the song titles and also lyrics in the booklet are English, the quintet, though, communicates only in Russian, which sounds a bit weird, because you kind of expect to understand something... But that only on the side for those, who have problems with bands singing in a different language than English (Eh, Corey? ;). But that aside ATOLL NERAT play themselves through Doom and Death Metal, with some light symphonic elements (which never come into the foreground, though, but rather act in the back), some breaks and here and there some light choir vocals and a bit of violin and cello. The band does not have a clear line in their nine songs in so far that they remain unpredictable from track to track (sometimes even within the tracks) and a blastbeat passages with gruff Death Metal vocals suddenly turns into a calm breakdown or a double-bass driven part is replaced by great melodies and a Doomy atmosphere. What I definitely can hold for ATOLL NERAT is that they do not only know how to use their instruments (even though some of the cleanly sung passages sound a bit, ehm, unusual), but also are really good with arranging their songs, because despite the different shadings the songs never drift off into the progressive or even uncohesive. Still the four gentlemen and one lady limit their potential audience by the complexity and at times quite abrupt style changes quite a bit. To choose check out tips is quite hard looking at the diverse spectrum that "Art Of Ancient Seers" is covering, as the tracks differ quite a lot from each other, but I will give you "Non-Organic World", "Art Of Ancient Seers" or also "Doors Of Perception" to make yourself a picture of ATOLL NERAT. Altogether I have to say t hat the quintet definitely does NOT make music for a wide audience, but if you take the time to listen more closely to "Art Of Ancient Seers", then you should be able to discover a few very interesting compositions indeed.
ATOLL NERAT "Two Pipes To Heaven"
Russia’s Atoll Nerat is a representative of that sort of Eastern Slavonic melodic black metal which features folk along with the gothic elements, speaks in mother tongue, and in one way or another reaches back to Slavonic folk traditions. This EP is not quite new, being released four years ago. I heard one album from this band before, and the music on this CD is not very different from that. It would be difficult to play this style of music so that the result not be similar to some extent to that of the uncrowned king of the genre, Nokturnal Mortum (as it was some years ago). Atoll Nerat is no exception; the influences of Nokturnal Mortum, and the perhaps most well-known Russian representative of this style, namely Ashen Light, are entirely obvious. However, the CD is unique – if not with respect to the music, then in the fact that unlike meny other banbds, they don’t quite emphasize the national feelings. The cover depicts two indian silhouettes, piping and sitting back to back each other. The godname „Guajo” in the English translation of the lyrics does not sound very Slavonic either… I think this concept to be quite amusing concept (one I have never encountered so far), although I don’t now how does it fit the music. Probably it doesn’t, but who cares. For those not familiar with this style: it is melodic, keyboard-laden yet not commercial black metal. The atmsosphere is basically dark, but not „misanthropic” in the way true black metal usually is. Marching, heavy metalish themes make their appearence frequently, and the neoclassical / romantic synth tunes are also almost inevitable. Pacewise there is everything from slow to fast; I believe that it’s the fast parts that fit Atoll Nerat best, the more melancholic, balladistic themes are not carried out so well. The high-pitched screaching vocals are also close to being obligatory; and as usual, they don’t diasppoint. In my view, Slavonic languages in general square very well with this sort of black metal. As to the vocals, it can be noticed that there are fewer folk and more gothic elements in the music, compared to the great predecessors. The former can mostly be heard in the female choruses, rather than in the synth play. The produiction is acceptable although far from being ideal. The rythm guitars sound too punkish to me, and the drums are pretty lifeless. So much that I got suspicious about whether they are not using drum machines (according to the cover, they don’t.) My other problem is that most of the songs are not outstanding. The better tracks are not very surprisingly on the first half of the CD, and although there is no big problem with the second half either, it’s a bit dull. Fortunately the sixth track is an exception and makes up for this, so the EP leaves pleasent impressions in the end. I don’t blame on them the utter lack of originality, for none of the bands in the scene manage to get out from the shadow of Nokturnal Mortum. To sum up, this EP is nice to spend your freetime with, and will not disappoint fans of the genre, but nothing more than that. Good, but not great.
ATOLL NERAT "Two Pipes To Heaven"
Feeling a bit nostalgic and wanting to share some memories with a wider audience, ATOLL NERAT has recently decided to re-release their sophomore album, “Two Pipes To Heaven”, on More Hate Productions. The outcome, if you ask me, is a first class production – just in case the values of the original recording were lacking. The band seems to cherish its Slavic identity too loyally that the more engrossed listeners are left to decipher a sextet of Russian lyrical pieces, let alone a 95%-Russian-written homepage, wherein the terms ‘Psychodelic Paranormal Reality Metal’ and ‘Toltek Dark Metal’ can be found, presumably, to refer to the genre the band plays. It could be either an either-this-or-that guess or neither-one-or-both; however, in any case, neither term sounds sufficiently informative to me. What the band plays is Gothic Black Metal with a select few Symphonic elements thrown in every now and then in order to extend the musical margins. The multi-faceted mix is fronted by lightly-anguished; occasionally sinister male shrieks passionately embraced by seductive female vocals in order to create, along with the dreamy keyboards; double-bass drums; and crunchy guitars, songs that are emotive; darkly atmospheric; and serenely vigorous. ATOLL NERAT lays much emphasis on the wholeness of songs, which, although compound and/or lengthy, are well-thought-of and structurally well-arranged. This is certainly a recommended listen—especially for fans of mid-era OPERA IX, later SOULGRIND and TRAIL OF TEARS. Here is a Russian dish served with the best home-made aperitifs – bon appetit. (8/10)
ATOLL NERAT "Two Pipes To Heaven"
Russian More Hate prods continue glad fans by ex-USSR bands, this time we have already released there in the past album of this Russian band (previously was releases by Irond recs, but this release contains English written booklet). As for me, I never heard this band before (just band title). Well, musically here's some kind of dark metal, where both death and black metal were chosen as main structure. As a whole music is interesting and emotional, maybe just with lack of huge dark atmosphere, anyway sounds pretty interesting (but not fresh unfortunately). As I said before, here is mixture between black and death metal (both melodic ones), then add keyboards and you'll get melodic black/death metal. As for performance, looks musicians are well known how to use its instruments, all played “clear” and with no some rough mistakes. Mix and mastering were made in well-known Navahohut Studio, and as a result we have not excellent but really good, tight sounds, with pressing tunes (also with good underlines drum walls). The whole album is made in various tempos as well, so you'll be pleased by both slow and fast rhythms. Various vocals (both male and female) here as well, which are sung in Russian. Thus we have re-released stuff, which will be interesting for fans of dark metal or, let's say – melodic black-death metal. Not perfect, but listenable.
ATOLL NERAT "Two Pipes To Heaven"
Russia has constantly been showing some potential for many years already as far as the country's whole vast underground Metal scene is concerned. ATOLL NERAT are just one example out of those many bands coming out of the Russian territory of Metal that has the needed, burning passion to make things happening for them, as their 2nd album titled "Two Pipes To Heaven", proves it so well. ATOLL NERAT's music is made of symphonic and Gothic-tinged Black Metal mostly - and there's absolutely very much passion involved with all their doings on this particular record in question. Their stuff is truly well made all around, and some comparisons to their country mates NOCTURNAL MORTUM, have been thrown in the air, but for the right reasons, I would say. They do have a tiny ghost of NOCTURNAL MORTUM lifted up on their shoulders but I personally cannot find it as any disturbing element at all. There's definitely lots of instrumental skills and power, plus ability to create some nice capturing atmospheres in their songs on the record. ATOLL NERAT keep their songs constantly on a multi-layered level, and they are also able to switch from fast tempo changes to slower, more atmospheric sections quickly, without loosing any professional edge to their stuff. Keeping all this mind what I said earlier, I personally think a song like 'Witch (Part 3) (Bishop's Death)' represents ATOLL NERAT at their best really; diverse and innovative sounding, not afraid of trying something a bit more unorthodox either as far as their song structures are concerned. All these aforementioned points make ATOLL NERAT a pretty unique act all in all, and hence I cannot do much else but recommend also you to check them out.
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