Album: Dead as Truth
Label: Relapse Records
Genre: Blackened Doom/Sludge/Goth Metal
Release Date: 11th August, 2017
In a world full of anguish and fear, is it any wonder we get more and more bands these days that reflect our current living conditions? Despite the interconnectedness the internet and other forms of media gives us, the world feels lonelier by the day for a lot of people. Into this situation we get the fourth release from the merchants of the dark apocalypse known as Atriarch. They return with another offering of Doom and death and rock and roll that clocks in at a brisk, barely-over-30-minutes running time. This is a concoction of ritualistic blackness. They keep things fairly simple and straight-forward, the songs contained to less than eight minutes each while still stretching their own boundaries and expanding their horizons in each and every composition. There’s blackened sludge, Doom (of course), lots of goth, and more darkness than the heart of Satan himself.
“Inferno” kicks things off, coming in all slow and sludgy, lumbering with obsidian menace. You’ve got the weird ambient introduction, all mood and atmosphere, the bass feeling a bit like the soundtrack of John Carpenter’s The Thing, ominous and promising terror. Lenny Smith chimes in with his deep vocals, practically chanting, summoning some dark force as the feeling of resolute bleakness builds and builds. This one creeps up, taking its time, bare bones and allowing the spaces between notes to add to the tension. The riff comes in about the two-minute mark and with it comes the crush. Heavy, heavy, heavy. The drums start to pick up the pace about three minutes in and pretty soon, we’re getting some anguished Black Metal flourishes to add to the grating, emotional torment of the song.
“Dead” is just about straight-up eighties Goth, with the rumbling drums, the sonorous vocals, and that bass guitar. And that bass needs to be pointed out because most metal bands treat the instrument as an after-thought, something to add heft to the guitar lines. Not here. The bass is integral to every song, and Timothy Haskins really struts his stuff.
“Devolver” opens with some nice bass, those tribal drums return, Smith snarls, and the riffs ring true. Good, layered music here, the kind that demands confrontation, it’s the build up to a knife fight. Atriarch keep things varied here, the song heavy and yet still somehow cascading.
“Void” is just about how you would imagine it: slow, brooding, sinking, and black, lacking any hope or light. You can really feel the emotion in this one, the riffs allowed to echo and reverberate as Smith cries out against the night.
“Repent” is my favorite track on the album, probably because it’s more in your face than the others, and the lyrics really appeal to my political leanings (defiance of authority). Smith spits out the attitude here, the drums and guitars responding accordingly. Don’t worry, it’s not thrash, but it is “fast” in relation to Atriarch’s style. This one has some extra bite in it, like a dog that’s just damned tired of having its collar tugged on.
“Hopeless” ends the record with a bright, sunny, sing-along chorus that…Wait, no, not true at all. We get more of the grim here, more of the pain, all focused and slow and sludgy and relentless. It’s called “Hopeless” for a reason. This is a great summary of the album as a whole, as it has an element of almost everything they’ve done over the course of these thirty-some-odd minutes. There’s sludge, some blackened crispiness, DOOM, despair, and heavy, heavy guitars that ring the bells of death.
Atriarch has brought the world another dark work of art. If you’re into Doom, Goth, Sludge, Blackened metal, this one is for you. In fact, you’ll probably rate it higher than I did below. This is a good album, bordering on great, for the right crowd. Others may find it slow or too emotional but you folks probably aren’t still reading this review at this point. You all know who you are and you know already if you’re going to be into this or not. So get the record, put it on, and let the blackness take you far, far away.
Total Playing Time: 32:16