Atarah – S/T CS

8 October 2015 offering No Comment

R-7134633-1434481379-1778.jpegAtarah – S/T CS

Auric Records

Atarah is a mysterious project devoted to occult ambient music with a slight hint of black metal. Instead of a haphazard jam fixed under the pretense of some mystical vaguely-eastern-dipped “exotic” experience, Atarah have conceived a diverse piece of music that glimmers with an aura of ritual without much of the fluff.

The compositions on this tape are seemingly deliberate and intentional offerings that do feel ritualistic in the same way a project like Ark-Tau-Eos does in that there is a subtle but distinguished eloquence in the instrumentation of the musicians that gels really well together. There is certainly an air of symbolism and some use of ontological conventions (like the cryptic song titles), but the music speaks much more loudly, period.

The far off cavernous percussion is a welcome element here and there are quite a few varieties. “BoVnd bI the arr0vvz of GOD” is surprisingly driving in its tempo, arranging a pungent and somewhat blackened bass around guitar and frequency fuzz. There is some chanting and a very peculiar drone that ends the track which are hall-marks for good ritualistic music, but here it is aided by song structure that really bolsters the appeal of the track.

“AdoramVz TE” by comparison is feels a lot less even-keeled. The vocals are delayed and somewhat strained chants at first, giving the track a nauseating air that feels slightly absurd…the vocals erupt into distorted screams and orgiastic hymnal are sure to arose some unease. The guitar and percussion undercurrent gives back the track some sonic equity in nominal prods, but it’s not sufficient and this is the weakest track in my opinion. It breaks the earnestness of the inertia of “BoVnd bI arr0vvz of GOD” a bit.

“Movntaynmagyk” offers a nice change into more dwarf-hall drumming alongside ceremonial guitars and noise. This is probably my favorite track…the vocals here work really well (as well as the electronics) as subtle conventions used sparingly by adding to the atmosphere instead of corralling the atmosphere; I want to savor the instrumentation here, not have it be swept to the side. Tightly composed, “G0lden thornz” is a straight up drone procession that fully locks your headphones in place with weighty cathedral chamber stresses barbed by haunting clangs. More cloaked ambiance closer to silence than audible, shadows decay towards the climax of this track in ghoulish obscurity…here more than anywhere you can hear the black metal influences in the slight discord and menace of the strumming on the percussion.

I would hypothesize that the personnel on board are involved in some other, more straight-forward musical projects, because the musicianship offered here is not convenient jerk-off bullshit ritual ambient. These guys keep things interesting with a variety of acoustic, electric and electronic sounds on this tape that make for a well-articulated work. I would encourage fans of Ark-Tau-Eos and Ad Lux Tenebrae to give this a spin for sure.

Unfortunately for those who have more of a penchant for noise/ambient/industrial related things (and fortunately for metalheads), Swiss label Auric Records deals primarily with metal related projects…head to their website and check out some of their wares.

Composition: ★★★★☆
Sounds: ★★★★☆
Production Quality: ★★★½☆
Concept: ★★★☆☆
Packaging: ★★★☆☆
Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

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