Atheos | ‘The Human Burden’
The way this album opens is fitting. Fitting for one of the most threatening, ravenous releases ever to come out of Irish metal.
A few plucked strings, a distant cello, then bam. Atheos are back.
Since their incredibly heavy debut just a year or two ago, they seem to have distilled even more power into their thundering death metal.
This time it’s more refined, more developed and just all out fucking savage. We all know death metal is on the up at the moment in Ireland as recent high quality records have shown. But this? It’s on another level.
That opener, ‘Ominous Adversary’, shows the newfound essences of the band. It’s like a harder, tougher take on Atheist’s ‘Jupiter’ comeback – the same marriage of technicality to barking vocals, shot through with slimy time signatures and shifts that keep you right on the edge of the seat.
It rips along with an amazing ferocity, while dark diminished chords reinforce the bleakness.
Title track ‘The Human Burden’ has weight as its theme and weight as its sound. There’s a hell of a lot of Morbid Angel’s crisp ‘Domination’ tonality in here, through the Rutan style riffs and licks, and the slow, deliberate, insisting grinding of the rhythm.
You dont even need to know what the lyrics are saying to feel the sense of dystopia and rage the band are railing with. It covers every note like a tar.
They reach a career best on ‘Language Of The Martyrs’. Its intro sounds for all the world like Amber Asylum’s bleakest moments (‘Poppies’, since you’re asking), before a melodic guitar break worthy of Eucharist leads the track inward.
Before long, the chorus comes in with its anthemic swoon. This would be great enough, but the best is yet to come. Cynic style robo vocals lend the track a ‘Traced In Air’ expansiveness and maturity in a section that’s just prog death metal to die for.
The guitar soloing as well reaches the sublime in this track – fantastically executed sweep picking that will have you agape. It’s literally as good as the recent Faceless albums, and that’s saying something.
There is no serious competitor to this band as far as death metal in Ireland goes at the time of writing. Their talent was obvious from the start, and this record rams it home.
I cant believe they’re as yet an undiscovered quantity – the need, need to break through with this insanely brilliant album and show the world what they’re about.
Every minute of it is a death metal tour de force, where melodic detail meets rhythmic invention. And if you think that’s not for you, let me say it another way.
It’s heavy as an absolute brick shithouse, it’s fast, the solos are brilliant and the vocals are straight out of the classic death metal mould.
In fact the more I think about it, the more I find the only – and best – album I can compare this to is Nocturnus’ ‘The Key’. Overstating the case? Not for a minute.
This is brilliant, and surpasses almost all but the very, very best coming out of this country at the minute.
Did our scene really produce this album of death metal genius? I have to pinch myself to believe it.
4.8 / 5 – Earl Grey ::: 03/03/13