Atra Vetosus

Album Title: 
Even The Dawn No Longer Brings Hope
Release Date: 
Friday, January 29, 2021
Review Type: 

To celebrate their tenth anniversary, Atra Vetosus satisfies its audience with the release of a new recording, happily called Even The Dawn No Longer Brings Hope. I’ll keep my introduction brief, for you can find more background information in my former reviews for this act from Tasmania (links: see below). Atra Vetosus were originally formed in 2011 by the Josh-duo (Josh Young aka Slikver, whom you might know as well from e.g. Mazikeen, Astral Winter, Hammerstorm (which he runs together with Immortal Frost Productions front-man S.) or Take This Life, and Josh Gee aka Thorodan, cf. Lost In Desolation). Soon however they got joined by Matthew Lopez, Josef Bound and Damon Parker. With this constellation, the quintet did record a handful of mini and full-length albums, mainly released via Belgium’s Immortal Frost Productions. That is exactly the same in this new recording’s case: same line-up and same label. The result has been mixed and mastered at the Wolfthrone Studio by Owe Inborr, who started working with this band as from the remastered re-release of debut full length Voices From The Eternal Light. That guy is no stranger to the label either, for being involved with bands like Dispyt and Ondfødt, also on the Immortal Frost Productions roster, or for his studio assistance with bands like Ars Veneficium, Azaghal or Antzaat. …a tangle of relationships and collaborations through so many links.

Even The Dawn No Longer Brings Hope was released on compact disc (1,000 copies) (besides the digital one) with an eight-page booklet, with cool artwork by Marko ‘Kozeljnik’ Jerkovič, string master of The Stone. And hey, that band recently signed to Immortal Frost Productions too; and you know, Kozeljnik works / worked as designer for some other recently released stuff on this label too. …one big happy family they are… Haha…

Anyway, this new piece consists of three compositions: one short one and two lengthier pieces, clocking twenty-three minutes together. The EP starts with the eleven-minute-long hymn (and ‘hymn’ is a very appropriate description for sure) Azure; Frozen (mind the “;” within this title), which opens very integer and tranquil. First a floating synth line, then joined by more keyboard melodies and a somewhat emotional piano melody. Slowly yet convincingly this expression of beauty and tristesse (both of them are strongly related, ‘beauty’ and ‘tristesse’) ‘grows’, painting a desolate yet colorful landscape. Then, after three minutes and something, things sort of explode in an overpowering mixture of Melodic and Atmospheric Black Metal. In the vein of the past, the tremolo guitar leads are very characteristic for Atra Vetosus’ main sound. These leads carry the whole, like the spine of an organism. And an organism is quite a correct word to describe the whole performance. As said, the lead guitars are typifying this material, but they are nothing without the use of all other instrumentation. There is an enormous support of the rhythm string section, with fine down-tuned bass lines and mesmerizing rhythm guitars, as well as a monumental percussion assistance. The drum patterns are defining this stuff too with their remarkable patterns and variation. Fast salvos with rabid double bass drums and exploding cymbal molestation easily interacts with softer percussions passages. Last but not least are the vocals, also naturally mixed into the whole journey, without ‘stealing’ all attention. The main voice is a soar screaming one, very vigorous and robust. But the range is comprehensive, with some high-pitched screams, deep grunts, punkish yells and epic choirs. As said, all of it sounds so organic, so cohesive and somehow ‘logic’, and the outro, once again with synths and piano, is like the most natural ending for this majestic opening track!

Hallowed Sky, which lasts for almost ten minutes, starts with an atmospheric introduction too, based on dreamlike, moony synth-waves. Here too the perfected interplay of tremolo leads, a firm, coherent rhythm section (ah, those drums, those basses…) and that confident throat define an aural adventure with so many things to experience. Epic harmonies, violent blasts, hypnotic melodies and introspective atmospheres (at about five minutes, for example, there is that blissful acoustic intermezzo, subtly minimizing the borders with the Post-Black and / or Shoegaze scene, which impeccably moves over in an overwhelming grande finale!); it is all part of this mighty composition.

Even The Dawn No Longer Brings Hope ends with the short outro Silver Starfall (02:16), an acoustic piece, veiled in a magic sphere of fantasy and folklore; I mean, this makes me dream of an untrodden dark forest, where mystic creatures wander around in perfect harmony with their natural environment; where gnomes and elves and birds and hares form a peaceful community and… Oops, I lost myself in infinite fantasia and expanded imagination…

The tempo and structure within each single composition is surprisingly varying. Fast and slower passages, well-thought and sometimes quite abrupt (but not of the ridiculously exaggerated kind) breaks, and an equilibrium in between aggression and atmosphere; it’s all part of this band’s ease to create stunning, somehow timeless Black Metal. And I cannot but mention the great sound quality, for this album is very professionally produced and mixed. As mentioned before, the dual / tremolo leads and harsh voices are of high importance to define this band’s approach, but every single instrument is perfectly hearable throughout the whole album. During the acoustic passages for example, it’ not just one synth line you hear, or that acoustic guitar; then the basses, background keyboard melodies and percussion too are part of the whole. Also during the heavier fragments, the rhythm support too can be analyzed to its smallest detail. And at the same time, the whole has a certain unpolished roughness going on, lacking any stupid surgical cleanliness yet maintaining that balance of decency and immodesty.