By Samuel Stevens
Release Date: June 19, 2020
Genre: Doom Metal, Death Metal
Label: Spinefarm Records
The reunited death/doom metal quartet Atavist, based out of Manchester, England, regrouped just a mere four years ago, after a ten year long hiatus. The band has returned with their first brand new material in nearly thirteen years with their third effort, III: Absolution. Atavist’s brand new album was recorded at both, Skyhammer Studio and Foel Studio, produced by Chris Fielding, and finally mastered by James Plotkin.
III: Absolution consists of four massive tracks, each ranging in length from as little as nine and a half minutes, to as long as eighteen minutes. The album showcases the band’s maturity as songwriters over the last ten years in other various projects, and displays their move from a sludgier style to a more polished atmospheric doom/death metal sound, with many new elements incorporated, that is still evocative of the band’s previous albums, Atavist and II: Ruined.
Atavist is made up of majority of their original line up and is fronted by Toby Bradshaw, and rounded out by Winterfylleth guitarist and vocalist, Chris Naughton, bassist Shane Ryan, and drummer Callum Cox. The band enlisted many other talented musicians to work on III: Absolution. The album features performances by cellist, Jo Quail, viola and violin by Bianca Blezard, and keyboards and synth by Mark Deeks. Blezard and Deeks previously have worked with guitarist Chris Naughton on his other project, Winterfylleth.
On the band’s previous two albums, the band touched on subjects of despair, depression, and misanthropy, which is evident again on III: Absolution. The album opens with the sixteen and a half minute track, “Loss.” Beginning with subtle mellow guitar, the song builds to become much more ambient with soft drums accompanying the guitar, as both cello and violin begin to resonate. Once Toby Bradshaw comes in with his vocals, the song takes hold as a traditional atmospheric death metal track.
The second track, “Struggle” is a near fifteen minute straight doom metal-esque track, that gets sludgy in the middle of the song. “Self-Realization” is the shortest track on the album, clocking in at just under ten minutes. Whereas the final track on the effort, “Absolution,” is the longest, just shy of eighteen minutes. “Absolution” ends the album off with a melodic guitar riddled piece, ending with a beautiful duet performance by, Jo Quail and Bianca Blezard.