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A Province Of Thay - "Atonement" (CD)

A Province Of Thay - "Atonement" CD cover image

"Atonement" track listing:

1. Atonement
2. Animus
3. Thaymount
4. Dirgesinger

Reviewed by on December 15, 2016

"Another surprising year-end highlight, A Province Of Thay gives us an emotionally engaging post-metal offering with 'Atonement.'"

Another surprising year-end highlight, A Province Of Thay gives us an emotionally engaging post-metal offering with “Atonement.” You might be scratching your head right now at that description of the sound if you caught the clear D&D references to the Red Wizards of Thay in the band's name and track titles.

To be clear, this isn't fantasy metal, and there's no long haired, bare chested warriors clutching swords here. The closest thing would be third track “Thaymount” that is clearly singing about a specific geographic location in Faerun, but the music itself is as far from the typical cheesy Manowar style as you could get – and that's a good thing.

“Atonement” features four tracks, but with three of them past the eight minute mark, it feels more like an album than an EP. The title track is immediately attention grabbing, mixing distorted metal with piano overlays and a melodic bent that brings out an incredibly melancholy feeling in the listener. Heartbreaking probably isn't too strong a word to describe the level of melancholia you might experience going through “Atonement” by the time you hit around the 2:30 mark.

The EP as a whole has a strong appeal for a lot of the same reasons post-metal / rock groups like Bauda resonate with listeners, but it has a heavier approach overall. The tracks are by turns heavy and melodic, with harsh and clean vocals, but always presented with an ear towards the sadly morose.

The opening two tracks on “Atonement” are more exciting overall than the closing two tracks, with ending song “Dirgesinger” in particular a little too slow moving and drawn out over nearly nine minutes for its own good. That's really the only main downside here – it's more a reflective and ponderous musical experience than an extreme or breakneck speed one.

When you've had your fill of headbanging thrash and brutal death for the day, do be sure to check out A Province Of Thay for a whole other take on metal that's just as satisfying in a completely different way.

Highs: Post-rock collides with metal for a melancholic and introspective musical journey

Lows: The slow moving nature and lack of typical blast beats, breakdowns, etc. may not work for all metal fans

Bottom line: Who knew Red Wizards had such a melancholy side to their heavy metal magic?

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)