The Atlas Moth – An Ache For The Distance

The Atlas Moth

An Ache For The Distance

01. Coffin Varnish
02. Perpetual Generations
03. Holes in the Desert
04. Gemini
05. An Ache For The Distance
06. 25s And The Royal Blues
07. Courage
08. Your Calm Waters
09. Horse Thieves

[09/20/11]
[Profound Lore]

Chicago’s The Atlas Moth are a band relatively new to me. I’ve been a fan of post-metal for some time now, but The Atlas Moth, much like their southern counterparts Rwake, lurk in the genre’s seedy underbelly with bleaker influences, where a doom-tinged psychedelic sound reigns supreme. After giving their 2009 debut A Glorified Piece Of Blue Sky a once over, The Atlas Moth landed firmly on my radar for 2011.

The Atlas Moth sport a multidimensional sound, as the band’s sophomore album An Ache For The Distance is as beautiful as it is grim. This sort of dualism is difficult to achieve, but The Atlas Moth excel in achieving breathtaking atmosphere and haunting melodies and balancing them against dark sludge and stoned-out madness. Gravely screams and shrieks fit for the truest of black metal bands seem to fit naturally with guitar leads that should be lulling the listener into serenity. Whoever said melody must be sacrificed in order to achieve something crushingly heavy had no idea what they were talking about.

Really, the songwriting and performance on An Ache For The Distance is impeccable. Featuring a lineup of three guitarists—two of which sharing vocal duties and one juggling with synth—listeners can pick out each of the three guitarists at any given moment, with almost constant harmonizing and atmospheric layers building up this massive sound. It’s safe to say that The Atlas Moth most certainly does not suffer from too many cooks ruining the broth, as they all work together in perfect harmony, with production fit to emphasize.

Normally I don’t notice or put emphasis on drumming like I should, but for a band that seems to dabble almost exclusively in downtempo movement, drummer Anthony (no last name given on Facebook, which is about the length I plan to go on researching this thing) has enough flair to keep trudging rhythms interesting across the course of An Ache For Distance. Far too many doom-oriented albums are left to monotonous drumming patterns, which can make or break an album based on who’s listening. Luckily, The Atlas Moth avoid these pitfalls.

I’ve also noticed that The Atlas Moth seem to be a modest bunch of dudes that put off a stoner party metal sort of vibe if you didn’t know any better. An Ache For The Distance is definitely an album for forward-thinking people, progressive in its deep and introspective music that refuses to make itself too vulnerable. I’ve always enjoyed when progressive musicians don’t take themselves too seriously, and these dudes don’t spoil the vibes with unneeded pretension.

An Ache For The Distance is by far one of the best albums that 2011 has to offer. The Atlas Moth are much more than your run-of-the-mill Neur-Isis worship band. An Ache For The Distance is an emotionally heavy record that is both vulnerable and confrontational, being one of the year’s unique highlights. It is a diamond in the rough, and is more than happy that way. Depending on how you look at things, the surrounding rock can be just as important as the diamond it encases within.

The Atlas Moth – An Ache For The Distance gets…

4.5/5

 

These excellent ratings will stop as soon as people stop making excellent albums. If you think 2011 has been anything but a great year for music, then you can get the hell out of my office.

– JR

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