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The Atlas Moth - "A Glorified Piece Of Blue Sky" (CD)

The Atlas Moth - "A Glorified Piece Of Blue Sky" CD cover image

"A Glorified Piece Of Blue Sky" track listing:

1. A Night In Venus' Arms... (6:06)
2. A Glorified Piece Of Blue-Sky (6:09)
3. Grey Wolves (3:53)
4. Our Sun, Our Saviour (5:22)
5. Extraordinary Claims Require, Extraordinary Evidence (6:42)
6. One Amongst The Wheat Fields (4:43)
7. Jump Room To Orion (6:58)
8. ...Leads To A Lifetime On Mercury (10:04)

Reviewed by on October 23, 2009

"With 'A Glorified Piece Of Blue Sky,' The Atlas Moth have launched their first shot at the heart of sludge metal."

It says a lot for a band to make a defining statement on their debut album. Some bands take it safe in their humble beginnings, waiting until the third album or so to really stretch out the stringent boundaries set up. The Atlas Moth skips past that route and dives feet-first into uncharted territory on “A Glorified Piece Of Blue Sky.” A towering sludge metal aura is weighed down by a dominant synth presence, which is all backed up by a three-guitar assault, making for an album where structure and linearity are foreign words.

In a time where a majority of music is spoon-fed to the masses, timed to perfection and packaged in neat little sonic bites, The Atlas Moth goes against the grain by expanding their songs instead of shrinking them down. The average length of each song is around six minutes, as the band takes its time in setting the proper mood. Ambient sections driven by synthesizers build a sinister and uneasy feeling onto the listener, emotions that are only further justified by the screeching black metal-esque vocals and thick guitar tones.

First impressions are important for a band’s debut album. Anybody expecting a monstrous opener may be surprised by the subtle rage of “A Night In Venus' Arms…” The first half of the song is comprised of layers of bleeps and other industrial noises that could have came from Richard Wright’s own two hands, before the rest of the band joins in. It is a grueling and steep climb to the moment of impact, but when the trio of guitars becomes a musical body of one, an immediate sense of euphoria is felt.

The eight tracks all have their own characteristics that give “A Glorified Piece Of Blue Sky” a sharp dynamic that makes each track easy to differentiate between. The common element that holds true to the entire album is the wide range of vocal styles utilized. From screeching to harsh growls to clean singing, the vocals are as unpredictable as the rest of the album. Having all these styles clash and correlate with each other keeps the album fresh and helps against any chance of staleness.

On songs “Grey Wolves” and “One Amongst The Wheat Fields,” the band sounds like a harsher version of The Sword. The guitar work stands out in these tracks, as each member is independent of the other, off doing their own thing, yet still maintaining a succinct relationship. Even with the wall of sound the band seems content to stick with, a few melodic moments sneak through the cracks. “Jump Room To Orion” could be considered The Atlas Moth’s version of a ballad; grimy and depressive, yes, but still packing a poignant knockout blow to the jaw. Epic closer “...Leads To A Lifetime On Mercury” follows up with fantastic lead work and an unbearable tempo that picks up for a thrilling conclusion.

With “A Glorified Piece Of Blue Sky,” The Atlas Moth has launched their first shot at the heart of sludge metal. The bile brims to the surface, a deafening cry to arms for the gloomy and hopeless. The ambient sections are experimental in nature and bring a late 60s psychedelic vibe, while the occasional clean vocals are well done and act as a major contrast to the darkness that surrounds the album. The introspective lyrics are deep in meaning, but hard to understand when the band is in harsh vocal mode due to the vocals being low in the mix. This makes having the lyrics on hand even more important, as the band has a lot to say on their debut album and demands that their voice be heard. “A Glorified Piece Of Blue Sky” signifies The Atlas Moth as a band not afraid to take chances, a trait that will serve them well in the future.

Highs: Diverse blend of vocal styles, three-guitar attack, ambient synthesizer sections, patient songwriting.

Lows: Harsh vocals can be heard to decipher, tame production, synth outros are overdone.

Bottom line: The Atlas Moth brings a degree of experimentation to the standard sludge metal sound that largely pays off on their debut album.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)