While Lost Soul have five albums at this point, they only gained wide recognition with their fourth album Immerse In Infinity. The Polish death metal band gained instant underground recognition with that album, which had similarities to earlier Fleshgod Apocalypse – blast beats and trem picking mixed with catchy riffing. After six years of radio silence, they suddenly announced their fifth album, Atlantis: The New Beginning, and during their absence, they’ve only improved. Combining fast playing with tight song-writing, atmospheric elements like synths and chants, the band have come back with their best album yet.

Starting an album with a nine-minute long epic takes some courage, as it risks alienating those with a short attention span, but “Hypothelemus” proves that this does not have to be the case, as it is consistently fast-paced, varied and interesting. This generally applies to the rest of the album as well. The formula here is rather simple yet effective, and it really works a lot better than it should. When boiled down, what the band are doing isn’t a lot more complicated than “fast riffing and drumming, throaty growled vocals that are reminiscent of Behemoth‘s Nergal, the occasional atmospheric synths and chanting and clean vocals”. But the fact that within that framework the band manage to be so interesting is a testament to the quality of the songwriting.

That description is perhaps underselling the band, because they’re not just constrained to going fast, they make excellent use of slowing down their music, again similar to Behemoth, to create a more brooding feeling – “Unicornis” is starts off being mostly slow-to-mid tempo with female clean vocals, and many songs have similar sections that break up the pace. A big problem with later Fleshgod Apocalypse albums was that they were always “at 11”, always extremely fast and loud, whereas Lost Soul take a page from their fellow countryman Nergal in terms of varying the pace. In fact, this album generally has a stronger blackened feel. The band’s trademark riffing style of starting on the lower strings then ending with short lines on the higher strings, and their unique melodic approach are still present, it’s just that they’ve been augmented by a more nuanced approach to death metal. Really, the strength of Lost Soul isn’t in what’s externally quantifiable, but in how the little things they do are different, how the riffs flow into each other, and how it’s all ridiculously heavy while not being abrasive at all. This is the catchiest death metal album of the year by far, and that’s really no small feat. The production is superb as well, leaving nothing to be desired.

In the end, Lost Soul’s Atlantis is an absolute must-listen gem of death metal. Combining catchy, theatrical and blackened elements into their already strong style, the band have made what’s easily their best album yet. Fans and newcomers alike will find much to enjoy here.

[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yc3s9OqGsUg]

Lost Soul – Atlantis: The New Beginning gets…

4.5/5

 

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