Atriarch - Dead As Truth - (8.5/10)
Published on October 22, 2017
Formed in 2009, the deathrock/doom project Atriarch have had a steady output, with new material coming out roughly every couple of years. The band’s releases have always been very high quality, and the group’s ritualistic sound has been hypnotizing more and more on each release. 2017 saw the band release their newest, and fourth, full-length entitled Dead As Truth via Relapse Records. The slow and plodding music is back for another round with some more enchanting vocals to give us one hauntingly beautiful, cathartic, but utterly dark record.
From the opening seconds of “Inferno” you can tell the band is back where they are comfortable. Throughout most of the run-time, the song stays along the same path, that being slow and heavy with Lenny’s hymnal and haunting clean vocals. The ritual like nature of his performance has always been a highlight for Atriarch, and while you would not expect anything different, it is always nice to hear it back in full swing. Of course the vocals that that approach for the majority of the album, but there are some higher screams littered on the album, along with some deeper more aggressive vocals. Not a death grunt by any means, but barking and commanding vocals never-the-less. The varied vocal performance is hypnotic, and runs the emotional gamut throughout these 32 minutes.
The musical aspect of the release is just as wonderful, with the drums coming across more entrancing than anything, as they stay on the slower side of things, creating a nice groove, but a flow that captures the listener very intensely. Of course there are times where the speed picks up, and the drum work is just as impressive, adding an extra nice layer to the band’s approach. The guitar work is more about atmosphere than anything, but that doesn’t spare this album from some impressive lead work and riffs. More akin to the slower side of doom, there may not be a lot of variety in the guitar work, but the job is more than fulfilled in creating something of an experience for this release. There is a certain aura that Atriarch albums have that the guitars and bass are able to provide with how in sync they are and how they work to express something dark, but cathartic.
While this release is on the short side compared to the band’s prior output, there is no drop in quality. If anything, the quality of the music is just as high, if not a bit more seasoned and well executed, but the shorter play-time lends itself better to repeated listens. This is the sort of album tat makes you feel dirty, and introspective, but makes you feel there is something out there to lift you up. While the obvious emphasis on the dire side of the coin, Atriarch have been able to leave the listener feeling somewhat hopeful for four albums now. Dead As Truth may have come out a couple of months back at this point, but it’s never too late to pick it up and enjoy one of summer’s more interesting, and haunting releases.