Feeling a bit nostalgic and wanting to share some memories with a wider audience, ATOLL NERAT has recently decided to re-release their sophomore album, “Two Pipes To Heaven”, on More Hate Productions. The outcome, if you ask me, is a first class production – just in case the values of the original recording were lacking. The band seems to cherish its Slavic identity too loyally that the more engrossed listeners are left to decipher a sextet of Russian lyrical pieces, let alone a 95%-Russian-written homepage, wherein the terms ‘Psychodelic Paranormal Reality Metal’ and ‘Toltek Dark Metal’ can be found, presumably, to refer to the genre the band plays. It could be either an either-this-or-that guess or neither-one-or-both; however, in any case, neither term sounds sufficiently informative to me.
What the band plays is Gothic Black Metal with a select few Symphonic elements thrown in every now and then in order to extend the musical margins. The multi-faceted mix is fronted by lightly-anguished; occasionally sinister male shrieks passionately embraced by seductive female vocals in order to create, along with the dreamy keyboards; double-bass drums; and crunchy guitars, songs that are emotive; darkly atmospheric; and serenely vigorous. ATOLL NERAT lays much emphasis on the wholeness of songs, which, although compound and/or lengthy, are well-thought-of and structurally well-arranged. This is certainly a recommended listen—especially for fans of mid-era OPERA IX, later SOULGRIND and TRAIL OF TEARS. Here is a Russian dish served with the best home-made aperitifs – bon appétit.
(Online August 6, 2009)