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The Atlas Moth - "An Ache For The Distance" (CD)

The Atlas Moth - "An Ache For The Distance" CD cover image

"An Ache For The Distance" track listing:

1. Coffin Varnish (4:00)
2. Perpetual Generations (5:08)
3. Holes In The Desert (7:01)
4. Gemini (3:22)
5. An Ache For The Distance (5:44)
6. 25’s And The Royal Blues (5:32)
7. Courage (3:02)
8. Your Calm Waters (4:32)
9. Horse Thieves (6:53)

Reviewed by on September 16, 2011

"Expanding their sonic palettes and not being afraid to have melody as a major part of the songs makes this album resonate in a far better quality than 'A Glorified Piece Of Blue Sky.'"

The Atlas Moth proved to be a valuable commodity with their sludge/blues combo on “A Glorified Piece Of Blue Sky.” It was a brooding, punishing album hinting at a grander sense of psychedelic ambience, which is showcased on their sophomore record “An Ache For The Distance.” It’s not a large departure from their first album, but there is a greater sense of risk in all avenues of the band. The three guitarists make full use of that advantage, and the clean vocal contribution is substantial.

While “A Glorified Piece Of Blue Sky” was slow and full of distorted bashing, “An Ache For The Distance” has an open sound that has no problem embracing an experimental perspective. The production is cleaner, making each of the guitars audible by itself. It’s great to hear two of them harmonize, while one keeps rhythm, as they do on opener “Coffin Varnish.” That type of dynamic is one of the best parts of the album, and a great layering effect to accompany the various synth/keys work.

The band hasn’t watered down their bluesy sludge, further exposing their blues influences on “Holes In The Desert” and the title track. “Horse Thieves” has a jazzy, improvised feel with the blaring trumpet present. The trumpet howls in the background like a wounded animal, giving off a survivalist nuance to “Horse Thieves.” While these songs get into six-to-seven minute territory, they never seem that long, as the band moves at a brisk tempo that was lacking on “A Glorified Piece Of Blue Sky.”

“Gemini” and “Courage” are low-key and focus on rich atmospheres bolstered by synths and clean guitars. It’s not some lame attempt to get all mainstream, but proof that there is a lot more to The Atlas Moth than screeching vocals and disharmonic guitars. The increase in clean vocals is a way to support this proof. While clean vocals can be hit-or-miss in much of metal, they fit in well with the harsh tones. It’s nice to see them both mingle, in the same way they did on the band’s covers EP “The One Amongst The Weed Fields.”

While skirting the field and trying to find a successful formula with their debut album, The Atlas Moth has finally made sense with “An Ache For The Distance.” Expanding their sonic palettes and not being afraid to have melody as a major part of the songs makes this album resonate in a far better quality than “A Glorified Piece Of Blue Sky.” The album has that indescribable grasp on the listener, as The Atlas Moth leads the way into a drug-fueled haze with no escape.

Highs: More dynamic than their debut, increase in clean vocals pays off, triple-guitar attack shows off a harmonious side of The Atlas Moth

Lows: Wish there was another out-of-left field track like "Horse Thieves."

Bottom line: The Atlas Moth has evolved their bluesy sludge sound on the fantastic "An Ache For The Distance."

Rated 4.0 out of 5 skulls
4.0 out of 5 skulls

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)