Atrum Tempestas: Néant

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Atrum Tempestas: Néant
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Atrum Tempestas: Néant
Atmospheric Black Metal, Post-Rock
Nordavind Records
October 13th, 2014
Release length: 31:45
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With the Black Metal genre going through one of the most dynamic periods of expansion since the start of the second wave, we stand here once more at the threshold of yet another new artistic entry into the field. That band’s name is Atrum Tempestas, a two piece from Oulu, Finland that formed back in 2007. The duo of Perttunen and Kylmaaho wasted no time to record their first EP in 2007, but due to issues with then label Desolate Black Records causing a hold on the release, only twenty hand-numbered copies were made available on CD due to the label closing down, and the EP go go up on Bandcamp where it still remains at the time of writing this review. With that setback behind them, Atrum Tempestas returned to the studio, recording three songs that would make up their debut full-length album, Néant, for a 2014 release through Nordavind Records. But have the years been good to the band in creating emotionally charged material, or is this just more of the same when it comes to the styles involved?

As stated, Néant consists of of three songs, but only two really make up the girth of the release. “Quitter ceux qui étaient déjà partis” pushes past fourteen minutes with a slow, depressing foundation of Post-Rock influenced hooks that are as gloomy and slow paced as a My Dying Bride track. The vocals are a mixture of growls and rasps, though the first make up most of the song, not to mention some spoken word when the pace slows down and focuses more on general moodiness instead of sorrow, all the while backed by a crisp drum presence and blunt distortions that sound pretty good against the mid-range pulse of the bass guitar. The cleaner leads, however, is where most of the emotion is felt within this release. This is especially true here with the subtle presence outside the richer passages, such as approaching the six minute mark, where the layered vocals enrich the tighter music, adding a little more spite to the mix before creeping along at a funeral’s pace about two minutes later.

The other is “Et après… le néant”, which goes on for just past eleven minutes. Compared to “Quitter ceux qui étaient déjà partis”, this one isn’t quite as miserable, but the faster pace and signature traditional Black Metal drumming intertwined with held guitar notes, additional keyboards in the background, and an obvious concentration on the raspy vocal approach makes sections like the introduction a lot more aggressive and tense. Other areas, however, seem to just chug along with thin chords that are fairly uninspiring until the blunt buzzing of the hooks kicks back in. Thankfully this is only a moderately sized chunk, as by six minutes the atmospheres change wildly, moving from cold and uneasy blackened melodies to pristine gothic piano based beauty.

Sandwiched between those two extensive cuts is the song “S’éclipser”, which is an interesting little piece of misery. While another song that could pass as a blackened Doom Metal performance, it also is highly thematic in the vein of Lacrimosa, not to mention includes some clean singing about half way through. While there’s little to really be said about this one, the shorter length absolutely works in its favor, casting the listener into a rain filled world that takes a very sinister turn in the last thirty seconds.

With the insane growing interest in creating ly atmospheric Black Metal albums that often dabble in Post Rock as well, it’s fairly easy to get lost in the shuffle when you’re a new band at this stage of the game. Anyone entering the field desperately needs to create something that has the potential to stick with the listener and be more than what already exists. Sadly, Néant doesn’t really do this, but isn’t exactly bad by any means. It just doesn’t offer anything new, progressing as if the genre itself had a manual that this duo loosely followed. Atrum Tempestas, however, does present some really catchy material that isn’t exactly worth passing up. If anything, Néant is a decently crafted album that could have been better, but will still be an release you can get a fair amount of spins out of before you start gravitating to the next Ambient insert genre here solo act, duo, or full fledge band that comes along.


01. Quitter ceux qui étaient déjà partis – 14:17
02. S’éclipser – 6:22
03. Et après… le néant – 11:06
Initial Pressing Score: 7/10

Atrum Tempestas
Atrum Tempestas

Digital review copy of this release provided by Nordavind Records.