Tuesday, November 01, 2011

The Atlas Moth: An Ache for the Distance (2011)


An atlas moth is a giant bug from southeast Asia. Its wingspan is nearly a foot. Its coccoon is big enough to be used as a purse. Cool, huh? One would appear to be an absolute beast of a creature, but upon closer inspection they are quite fragile.

Perhaps that's why Chicago's The Atlas Moth have taken it as their moniker. On the surface, this is heavy, doomy sludge, and the blackened rasps on the opening track appear to be frightful and aggressive. But as the album title suggests, there is a longing behind that aggression. Delicate, mournful psychedelic leads play over the sludge, and soon a husky, droning clean voice comes in. There is a lot more than meets the eye.

After fully taking in their sound, it becomes clear that the heavy and harsh sections are not manifestations of aggression, as you find in most metal. Instead, they are a reaction to pain, a defensive mechanism. But you can clearly see through it to the pain inside. This is manifested not only in the clean/harsh vocals, but also in the music. The common heavy music/clean vocal formula is even turned on its head with "Your Calm Waters": the vocals are harsh, but the music is mellow.

Aside from doom, stoner, and sludge metal, you'll also find influence from the school of Isis. That makes them perfect candidates for fans of labelmates A Storm of Light. I just hope this doesn't mean the label is going to start repeating itself.

The Verdict: The mood is drawn from post-, doom, and maybe even a little grunge, but the music is definitely stoner/sludge, making it an atypical combination of elements. Kind of like a moth--you've seen one before, but who's seen one that big? I give An Ache for the Distance 4 out of 5 stars.

1 comment:

  1. Great review, can't wait to this one shows up at the Profound Lore Bandcamp.