I think I’m about the last person to check out Atriarch’s Forever The End, an album that lit up many year-end lists in 2011… What can I say? There are a lot of records to keep up with. However after sampling their craft via this split album, I’ll be looking for that debut ASAP. But not before I can get my hands on Alaric’s also last year debut first. Both bands are sublimely paired together for this split release, and it is a close call, but for these ears Alaric wins by a hair.
It’s hard to say if being absolutely fresh to both bands is an asset or a liability in reviewing this split. What is apparent is that both bands’ sound and production are very similar. So similar, in fact, that I had to quickly double check when the LP transitioned from one band to the next. The sound and texture is very dry and reverbs in a way that’s reminiscent of early Killing Joke, or even a heavier Sisters of Mercy. Just that certain special bleakness that stops just short of being almost industrial in nature. Speaking of Killing Joke, they serve as a key reference point in Alaric‘s sound. That is, post-punk with tinges of goth, industrial and the rough edge of anarcho-punk. Atriarch take this similar formula and steep it with metal’s riffs and heightened aggression. Each band earning high marks for bringing this unique style in 2012.
Alaric kicks off the split with their three songs, starting with the blueprint of their aforementioned sound in ‘Memory Assault’ before taking it in a more melodic direction with ‘So Far Down’, which begins with a slow plodding pace before building into an almost pretty-gasp-chorus. They then wrap-up their half of the split with the melancholic ‘Weep’, a melodic, downhearted song that sounds as though The High Confessions decided to write a song rather than simply jam krautrock.
Atriarch wraps up the split with their two songs, the first of which most closely mirrors the formula laid out by Alaric (hence my having to double check whose side of the split I was on). However, their second song, ‘Offerings’, distinguishes themselves via a more doom-like atmosphere with some death growls and goth-inspired vocals before switching into overdrive for a black metal second half, replete with blasts and shrieks.
Both of these bands share a sonic kinship which it is all about a dark atmosphere and presence, but their bond doesn’t just coincide with this release. It should be noted that these songs are not comprised of “leftovers” or b-sides, but intentionally crafted as a joint release between the bands who have both toured side by side and wanted to collaborate together as a stop gap split to tide fans over between albums. Beyond accomplishing that, they’ve given me plenty of reason to seek out their respective debut albums from last year. Great split, well done!
[Visit the band's website]
Written by Stacy Buchanan
August 29th, 2012


  1. Commented by: Nick Taxidermy

    I like Atriarch a lot.

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