Last year april, Atlantis released a full album titled Mistress of Ghosts and has received some raving reviews in the past. Atlantis plays a combination of Doom / Noise / Electro / Post-metal / Postrock that really differs from the common flock of Postrock bands. It's powerfull music that feels a bit strange, but after a couple of good listening periods, it's possible that you're hooked. Sometimes eerie, slow, bordering on infuriating noise, exploding guitars, but well thought-out music that's really atmospheric. Atlantis had a trick up its sleeve last month... Out of thin air, they popped up with a new EP called "La petite Mort" Be sure to read my thoughts about it!
Their new EP La Petite Mort consists of 4 tracks. Two tracks are just at or below the 3 minutes mark, and two tracks go well over 8 minutes. The interesting part is that the two short tracks, "Les Petites Morts and Breathe Slowly, feel like prelude songs for the two long tracks "Everest and Esther. Since it's just four songs, I will comment on all four individually.
1. Les Petites Morts
It's this song that explains the listeners the roots of Atlantis as an atmospheric, noise band. As I wrote in a live review of a couple of months ago, Atlantis is capable of soundscapes that are almost unbearable to listen to. Wait up, that's a good thing! Les Petits Morts really puts me on edge, it makes me feel a bit uneasy, but still pleases with the drums and the synthesizer sounds in the background. It's a 3 minutes "Tearing something apart" song, and if that's not enough to bear, your ears will bleed for the final 20 seconds because Atlantis deliberately played the first part on a lower volume to really max out the bleeding effect at the end of the track.
Because of the almost unbearable sound of the first track, the intro of the second song "Everest" feels like a warm sunny day. The electro beats and atmospheric sound effects make for a great opening of the most "classical" Atlantis song on this album. This song resembles the earlier style of Atlantis the best. Processed effects, slow but captivating guitarplay and a long build up for an epic finale. As tight as the opening minutes of this song, the more raw the song turns towards the end with pulsing bass-guitar tunes, a rasping American guitar and the always present synthesizer sounds in the background make for a really great track that keeps you interested for the full duration of the 8+ minutes the track lasts. If I compare the opening of this song with the final parts, the track transforms from electro / synth to loud post-metal, but the transformation is very smoothly.
3. Breathe Slowly
The third song sounds like a jamming session with different instruments and guitar-loops without a beginning and an end. The funny thing is that it seems to me that I hear a couple of classic Porcupine Tree soundeffects from the album Voyage 34. Should be a coincidence, but nevertheless interesting to note. I can't say much more about this short song, it feels like it's a bit of an incomplete song that has more potential.
After the small interlude of "Breathe Slowly", get ready for one of the loudest Atlantis songs ever made. It's called Esther and I certainly hope Esther is not an (ex) girlfriend of a bandmember, because this track just screams violence and anxiety. It's raw, it's filthy, it's powerfull. The song takes time to develop as instrument after instrument and sound effect after sound effect is added to the mix and delivers a loud Post-metal song with vocals (!) from Johannes Persson from Cult of Luna. Even though Metal is the biggest influence in this song, it's really reassuring to hear the elektro / synth touches that makes Atlantis so diverse. While I'm not a big fan of Post-metal because of the grunting, it suits this song really well.
La Petite Mort is an interesting release of Atlantis. It really looks like Atlantis is developing more towards louder tracks and isn't shy to experiment with metal soundscapes. It's "just" 4 tracks, but with a selling price of €2 or more, it's a bargain. With this release, Atlantis still demonstrates that they don't try to please the crowd by playing easy-listening songs. Opener Les Petites Morts is almost too much to handle, but pain can be a pleasure because you can count on it that magical tunes will be played after the suffering. Just listen to the song I'm your addict little miss cocaine for another example. The band is very creative with the use of raw instruments and digitized sound effects, and the tracks Everest and Esther are two really good tracks to add during live shows around Europe. If you want to know how creative and loud the instrumental rockmusic-genre can sound, buy this album right now!