To truly break through as a new band in this day and age can be incredibly difficult, but a lot of newcomers seem to truly focus on promotion, getting your name out there and quick, constant releases to keep listeners interested; which can all be well and good, definitely smart in that aspect, but most of those bands seem to also forget what’s probably the most important deciding factor; quality of musicianship. Whilst it can lead to the downfall of many acts, it can also be the deciding factor as to their future success.
Coming together with their debut EP ‘New World Nightmare’, newcomers Atria are gearing up for their first ever release, which can be a very stressful moment for any up and coming bands. With their upcoming album, Atria have proven that they’re not only precise with their songwriting capabilities, but their performance throughout ‘New World Nightmare’ is not only impeccable, but absolutely flawless.
Clocking in at just over 20 minutes with only 4 tracks, the Canadian Quintet have brought a lot to offer with their debut release, but waste no time in establishing themselves as a prime act in the underground music scene. Beginning the album with the title track, Atria set their own unique atmosphere almost instantly, throwing themselves into the deep end with pounding double clicks, incredibly tight riffage and relentless vocals, before almost doing a complete 180 and incorporating individualistic clean vocals that present the quintet as incredibly talented from the get go. Vocalist Tom Emmans doesn’t hold back in projecting his talents to the boundaries of his capabilities, switching back and forth between extreme and clean vocals, and although he resembles Bjorn Strid from Soilwork both in songwriting and performance, he still manages to maintain his uniqueness consistently.
Flowing into Someone With Me, Atria delve into their more Rock/Radio Metal oriented side, which is by no means an unwelcome projection; it shows that the band can not only write pounding, vicious melodic death metal, but that they’re able to branch out into different styles musically that successfully maintains their overall ambience, and shows a variety in musicianship. Guitarists Tim Ross and Travis McGinnis let themselves shine in this track especially, exhibiting such professional traits in musicianship and songwriting capabilities that makes it difficult to separate a band of their calibre to the bigger, more well known bands such as In Flames. Atria have also chosen the best moment in their career to truly experiment with their writing and their styles, incorporating various synths and orchestral elements that truly complements the leading instruments, rather than overshadowing them.
Whilst the first the tracks, New World Nightmare, Someone With Me and Less Than Equal are interesting and stand out in their own right, the song that truly caught my attention quickly was the final track of the album, Follow You Home. Rather than using the first track to foreshadow the overall atmosphere of the debut EP, Follow You Home perfectly summarizes the ambience and the darkness that came before the records. Using a range of different influences, Atria have found their sound through experimentation of the first few tracks, with multiple instances of orchestral arrangements, powerful riffs, harsh vocals and catchy, yet interesting and captivating melodies that truly create a dark, gloomy ambience.
I think my only true criticism of the band, isn’t necessarily a huge one, but I would personally love if they utilized it more, and it’s the lack of bass, or bass oriented sections that allow Brent Westmoreland to truly shine in his own right, rather than following Ross and McGinnis’s root notes. The band has such potential to make themselves into a well known group, and especially if the band’s taking influences from bands such as Soilwork and Slipknot, I personally feel that if on the next record, Atria chose to utilize Westmoreland to his full capabilities, it could set them apart and create something truly unique and captivating.
If there’s ever been a debut EP to really shoot a band off the ground, it’s ‘New World Nightmare’ by Atria; composed of beautiful melodies, relentless riffs and groundbreaking songwriting capabilities, ‘New World Nightmare’ is only the beginning for the quintet. This is only the beginning for the Canadian Quintet, and if they continue on the path that they’re on now, you’re going to be hearing from the band VERY soon. Preorder the upcoming Vane record HERE and HERE!