Atoma describe their sound as apocalyptic post-metal and I will be the first to admit… I have no idea what apocalyptic post-metal is. However, if it is anything like the wonderful salad-bowl of sound presented on “Skylight,” then I am sold.
The sounds that make up this release are wonderfully diverse and could easily soundtrack a film… a kind of Blade Runner-esque nightmarish film noir. This salad-bowl contains ample servings of high-octane riffage… frenetic percussion… melodic metal… industrial synths and beats… sampled radio conversations… suggestions of classical Arabian music… extreme growls and melodic vocals… even dance beats… it is a delicious mix… and a heartening meal.
So much so… the first three tracks form part of the “up” soundtrack to my cardio sessions in the gym.
The first three tracks are relentless. The opening track “Atoma” has the feel of the end sequence to a film… it has more of a trance vibe than anything metal… and that makes it all the more delicious and welcome as an opener. The second track – “Skylight” – has more of a growly, extreme metal vibe about it but demonstrates feeling… moments of light and dark… and is, in my opinion, better for it. “Hole In The Sky” – the third track – is another metal excursion… albeit more progressive with an underpinning of synths and some impassioned vocals.
The rest of the tracks are more melodic than the first three… “Highway”, for example, is almost a ballad compared with the earlier tracks… it is delightfully accessible and demonstrates there is more to the band than high-octane. It is more down tempo… aided by some haunting female vocals that provide a harmonic counterpoint to the main lead. It’s one of those tracks that invades your being and demonstrate the breadth of musical ability within Atoma.
From this part of the album onwards… the release takes on more of an euphoric feel… tracks that aren’t just melodic but have a sound that builds and has that singalong quality to them: “Resonance” is so beautiful and a million miles away from “starlight”. “Solaris” is the more dancey track… with almost trance synths underpinned by found radio conversations… it morphs about half-way-through to a full on Enigma-esque dance track with ethereal female vocals and programmed beats. If “Resonance” is a million miles away from “Skylight” then we are talking light years here… but not in a bad way… the variety of sound is a strength, for me.
But this variety is a strength for me but it may not be a strength for everyone… this release jumps into many genres and, yes, they do them well but for the extreme metal fan it may not be extreme enough and for the more progressive, metal fan… it may be too extreme in places… and the fan of great sounds may have missed this entirely because the cover looks like an extreme metal-esque band cover.
I guess you should never just a release by its cover (even though the cover on “Skylight” is awesome albeit a tad cliched”). I would suggest too that you can find beauty where you least expect it… and, as such, you should give a release a listen all the way through before casting judgement.
All in… I enjoyed “Skylight” by Atoma and will gladly give it 7 out of 10… with a feeling it will grow on me further with more exposure.