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Atoma - "Skylight" (CD)

Atoma - "Skylight" CD cover image

"Skylight" track listing:

1. AtomA (4:30
2. Skylight (5:19)
3. Hole in the Sky (3:51)
4. Highway (4:24)
5. Bermuda Reveira (5:01)
6. Resonance (5:54)
7. Solaris (3:34)
8. Rainmen (7:07)
9. Saturn and I (3:26)
10. Cloud Nine (4:39)

Reviewed by on April 30, 2012

"...Atoma’s debut 'Skylight' has hit a very interesting combination of sounds: it’s as compelling and emotional as an Anathema release, but more thrilling and epic in scope. It’s another twist in the fabric of metal..."

Rising out of the now-defunct band Slumber, Atoma’s debut “Skylight” has hit a very interesting combination of sounds: it’s as compelling and emotional as an Anathema release, but more thrilling and epic in scope. It’s another twist in the fabric of metal, creating a unique sound that can appeal even to the less heavy-inclined music lovers, and the album practically demands multiple listens to really take it all in.

The opening track shows how diverse and exotic the album will get all within the first two minutes, starting off incredibly dark and tense. Within a minute the building sounds have finally erupted, not into something demonic, but instead into a drum and keyboard beat that brings to mind themes of adventure and exploration. The whole album is much like this section of shifting music, weaving in and out of grandiose orchestral moments, bombastic electronic sounds, post-rock meanderings, and yes, even a good deal of metal.

Although focused mainly on the keyboards sounds and the post-rock feel, there are some growls to be heard on the title track, and a substantial amount of metal-friendly guitar work throughout. Vocals are applied sparsely, used only sparingly so they have more effect when they do show up, like on the stellar “Hole in the Sky.” Fans of the “snippet” style of progressive music along the lines of Haken or To-Mera will dig the overall atmosphere on “Skylight,” which switches up its sound a good deal between songs. There are much lighter and laid back tracks like “Highway,” heavier offerings such as the title track, and then cuts like the riveting and atmospheric “Hole in the Sky.”

Every song on the album has a lot to offer for anyone who craves the rich and layered feel of bands like Solstafir or even the previously mentioned Anathema. Unlike some other bands that put the metal in the back seat, the entire disc has a very “full” sound. There aren’t many instances where the songs end up barren or where the synths feel like filler. There’s pretty much nothing boring going on, with the only exception being the static-ridden broadcast intro to “Solaris,” although to be fair it does fit the mood, even if it does go on too long.

“Skylight” is almost like a film score, in the sense that it’s easy to get lost in the music and it clearly paints pictures in the head of the album’s space faring theme. Atoma’s debut is a great change of pace that effectively cuts out the brutality without losing the feeling, and is highly recommended to prog metalheads or fans of post-metal groups like At The Soundawn.

Highs: A full, rich sound that is both epic and personal at the same time.

Lows: The static sound effects on "Solaris" feel a bit unnecessary.

Bottom line: This epic and multilayered album effectively mixes up synths with metal and is pretty much required listening for the prog or post-metal crowd.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 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)