Monday, 30 November 2009

Album Review: The Atlas Moth - A Glorified Piece of Blue Sky

Sometimes, the best things happen by accident, and trust me, the best band you’ll ever hear, you haven’t even heard of yet, they probably haven’t even released their first record.

Now, I’m notoriously bad at listening to those free sampler CDs you get with most music magazines for two main reasons i) they’re normally full of stuff you’ve either already heard or don’t want to hear and ii) I generally have other things I’d much rather listen to, old favourites or new records personally recommended to me, so time after time, these sampler CDs go down the bottom of the priority pile, some of them are still collecting dust, completely unheard. So imagine my surprise when, listening to a several month old sampler CD from Terrorizer magazine I stumbled across a band called The Atlas Moth. The track on that CD was the title track from the Chicago lad’s debut album: A Glorified Piece of Blue Sky. What’s more, I was so impressed that I logged straight on to iTunes to buy the album and I can honestly say, it’s rarely been off my stereo since!

A Glorified Piece of Blue Sky may only contain 8 tracks but don’t let that fool you in to thinking this is a short album, running at roughly 50 minutes it’s the same length as Mastodon’s latest 7-track offering Crack the Skye. And that’s not where the similarities between these two modern masterpieces end. Like Mastodon, The Atlas Moth draw their influences from a mixture of southern Sludge and the gods of experimental/prog metal themselves; Neurosis.

It should be no surprise then, that opening track A Night In Venus’ Arms... is a 6 minute sampler of what’s to come, building from soft static fuzz at the opening till it’s crescendo of pounding, feedback laden guitars and harsh screams. Next up is the title track, another 6 minute journey through a mire of heavily distorted guitars and guttural screams. Like those who came before them, The Atlas Moth, despite this being their first album, seem adept at using tempo,peddle effects and mixed vocal styles as a way of telling stories within each song. And that’s one of the things that make this album, for me, an instant classic, the fact that not is just the entire album a journey, but each song has a different story to tell. It should also be said that whilst each song on the album has been finely crafted in to a unique sonic beat down, like A Sun That Never Sets (Neurosis - 2001) or Crack the Skye (Mastodon - 2009), this album is best appreciated in its entirety, and it is an album that deserves to have that time dedicated to it.

The Atlas Moth are currently trekking around the States in support of this album but I’ve spoken to them and they assure me that they’ll be gracing our fair shores here in the UK in 2010 and I, for one, cannot wait!

If you don’t own this album, well... you should. For me, it’s one of the best albums released this year, perhaps second only to the aforementioned Crack the Skye. The album is available from iTunes or from the bands store:

Album rating: 9/10
For fans of: Neurosis, Mastodon,
Best tracks: A Glorified Piece of Blue Sky , Jump Room to Orion

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