The Djent music scene has always been a tough scene with so many bands, whether it comes down to over-saturation, sub-par records from the big leagues, or the fact that the scene and the genre has been in ‘hibernation’ in recent years. The past year or two have seen bands pulling through and bringing out some incredibly insane records, such as TesseracT, VOLA and Monuments, as well as the surrounded hype for Periphery, Kadinja and Humanity’s Last Breath, it’s hard to find bands that can truly create a distinct sound in the genre that really lets them stand out against the crowd.
It wasn’t until Buster Odeholm announced that he mixed the Atlas record, that I’d heard about the band; me being the idiot I am, I held out on it a little bit, and wanted to experience their live show, as they were performing in my country as support for Monuments, and I have never felt more idiotic in my life. Ranging from the incredibly punchy mix provided by Odeholm to the immaculate production and stunning performance of the members, ‘Primitive’ will cement Atlas as newcomers that have an incredibly bright future ahead of them.
Beginning the album with Skinwalker, vocalist Patrik Nuorteva showcases his emotion-powered vocals with such intensity and ferociousness that will instant hook all listeners in, along with guitarists Tuomas Kurikka and Aleksi Viinikka bringing an incredible depth and ultimately depressing atmosphere that set’s the tone for the rest of ‘Primitive’ in a wonderful fashion. The song in itself utilizes the Drop F tuning to such an extent that it allows for the emotions to pass through the chord progressions in a timely setting, and I’ve personally found (in my own experiences) that the specific tuning projects that depressive, gloomy undertone much more effectively than most, especially since the bass note is in the key of F.
One of the tracks that really stands out amidst the influx of emotion and chugs is Kaamos. After following the riff-heavy tracks Skinwalker and Feel, Atlas project their feelings through their instruments in such a way that allows for listeners to embrace the music, with the huge emphasis on a clean guitar tone, less screaming and an unbelievable vocal performance from clean singer/bassist Leevi Luoto. The mix provided by Odeholm elevates this track to new heights and accentuates the instruments in such a level that’s incredibly hard to capture, adding the layer of punch, aggression and atmosphere without losing the overall vibe of the track.
Swaying through a mix of heaviness, brutality, and depressive undertones with tracks such as On Crooked Stones, Primitive, Pareidolia and Pendulum Swing, the most ambitious and interesting track, Bloodline, brings together the multiple atmosphere’s set by the band previously and the end result is mind-boggling. Drummer Aku Karjalainen allows his talent’s to really stand out in this track especially, ranging from punk beats to tight, ballsy drum beats that will leave listeners feeling each hit with such ferocity and power. The songwriting in itself is mesmerising, the track contains such a fruitful mix of punk, metalcore and djent influence, but maintains a steady pace throughout the track, allowing for each instrument to breathe in its own respective right.
One thing about this album that really, really has to be acknowledged, is the production, mixing/mastering and engineering as done by Buster Odeholm. Whilst I am biased that he is my personal favourite production engineer, Buster has had such a way with metalcore, deathcore and djent that not only brings forth a huge punch and attack feel, but he’s also able to recreate the emotional aspects of all his records that will leave every listener, especially me, drooling over every single one of his works. For his other projects, check out I, Valiance, Humanity’s Last Breath, Oceano and Born of Osiris, among so, so many more.
The flawless balance between melodic, heavy and emotional, Atlas have proven with ‘Primitive’ that they’re one of the most unique, incomparable bands to come out of the recent years in the Djent industry. Atlas is the band everyone in the metalcore industry needs to keep their eye own over the next few years, because if the band pushes out such quality material that surpasses ‘Primitive’, they will be an unstoppable force.
Purchase ‘Primitive’ HERE