Atlantis – Omens


[Reviewed by: Damiano Lanzi]

I’ve always been a fan of the kind of music that one could call alternative-metal, post-metal, post-industrial, post-core or post-anything, but now that I’ve waiting for (too many) years for a new album by Tool, that Isis have disbanded and Nine Inch Nails are increasingly becoming disappointing and boring, I’m beginning to think that this genre is out of fashion. Maybe this type of music, that often demands a careful listen and involves all our senses with its frequencies and power, despite its being futuristic is not immediate enough for the digital society we live in.

For the aforementioned reasons I’m glad that someone still pursues this genre, like Dutch musician Gilson Heitinga does with his project Atlantis. Heitinga has written and played all the music in “Omens”, aided by drummer Carlo Leijtens and some other collaborators. “Rapture” introduces the album with boiling wave generators and ethereal guitars. Heitinga’s musicianship shows immediately in “Raptor”: he never indulges in pointless technique, but his touch on all instruments is precise and clear. His ability reveals mostly in the shaping of the sound, the use of effects and layered synths, the crafting of atmospheres and good guitar lines. The song has a heavy riff enriched by long notes of modulated synths, that recalls Isis or Neurosis. There are also more relaxed parts in it, but you feel a tension that could blast off at any moment. In the coda, the trumpets create a curious contrast with the wall of guitars, like a sci-fi marching band of drones that brings you again to the riff.

“And She Drops the 7th Veil” is the longest track in the album with its 15 minutes. A suite that grows slowly, until the vocals, distorted and hellish, appear for the first time in the album in an obscure section towards the end of the song, together with a reverberated melodic line played on the bass. There are many different suggestions, even a lyrical female singer in the coda. “The Path Into” is a post-apocalyptic and cinematic soundscape where lo-fi sounds create a moment of suspension after two long pieces, as an opening to the most tense and complex composition of the record: “Widowmaker”. A cutting edge bass riff and tribal drums invite the listener to this unsettling trip. The deep tolls of the guitar rise in pitch in a crescendo of intensity that is brought to a desolated part with heartbeats, synthesized police sirens in the distance and the sampled screams of a woman, somewhere between terror and Sasha Grey-like orgasms.

The tension resolves into a solemn opening, and then into the mechanical pace of the drums and dilated fuzz guitar solo of the finale. In “Omen” we find an intro with detuned electronic bells and the voice appears one more time, once again distant and deeply effected. The riff and the guitars’ interplay make me think of post-rock superstars Mogwai. The coda is a good example of the Atlantis trademark: long sections that remain in the same tune, evolving gradually, dosing the tension carefully. There is a good equilibrium in “Omens”, a mathematical disposition to composing music and an ability of not exceeding any aspect.

Burning World Records, BWR034
CD/LP 2013

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