At The Soundawn

Swedish progressive hardcore act Burst released two of my favorite albums of the decade, 2006’s Origo and 2008’s Lazarus Bird – both a mesmerizing smash-up of jagged, breathless hardcore and dreamy, ethereal post-rock. However, they broke up last summer, which I only recently found out. Huge bummer. Lucky me then, that Italy’s At the Soundawn makes for a nice consolation prize with their second album Shifting.

These guys sound a hell of a lot like Burst, starting with vocalist Luca De Stefano’s ragged hardcore scream, which sounds so much like Linus Jägerskog that I thought it was a guest appearance. De Stefano’s clean vocals are softer, breathier, a tad more emo than Jägerskog’s, but they still fit within the conventions of the genre. The music is certainly cut from the same angular scrap metal as well – pounding, lunging riffs and roiling, almost martial drums that crest like tsunami, then abruptly die down as they roll towards shore. It’s those softer sections that frequently make you take notice throughout Shifting’s seven tracks, as the band goes beyond the light/heavy dynamic so common to sludge/post-hardcore bands like Isis and Cult of Luna and blends in a variety of new instruments and textures.

Opener “Mudra: In Acceptance and Regret” brings in a lone, smoky trumpet as De Stefano’s duet partner during the song’s midsection lull. As the segment grows in intensity, that trumpet takes on more of a fevered bray, creating a unique noir mood that I haven’t heard before in this genre. “7th Moon” has a tribal, almost aboriginal section full of jangling bells and polyrhythmic drums. Those tribal drums crop up again in “Drifting Lights,” a gorgeous piece of ambient/post-rock like something you’d hear from Mono or Mogwai. The noir returns again on the bluesy, basement-cabaret second half of “Hades,” and album closer “Prometheus Bring Us the Fire” ends with a chiming, pulsing passage that recalls both Tool and Porcupine Tree. Great stuff.

Overall, this is definitely on the more mellow side of sludge/post-hardcore, more in line with Isis’ thoughtful, muted Wavering Radiant than say, the thrashier, more metallic moments of Lazarus Bird. That’s not a bad thing though, considering that At the Soundawn describe themselves as “ambient hardcore,” which is pretty damn accurate. And again, since I’ve had to resign myself to a future without any new Burst releases, now I have new At the Soundawn experiences to look forward to.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Jordan Itkowitz
April 19th, 2010


  1. Commented by: Andrea - ATS

    Hey there! This is Andrea from the band.
    Thanx a lot for the awesome review! Could you just correct our singer name, that is Luca De Stefano?
    Mirco Migliori quit the band almost two years ago.


  2. Commented by: Apollyon

    Review fixed to give respect where respect is due. Apologies for the error.

  3. Commented by: Andrea - ATS

    No matter at all. It’s often happening.
    There must be some wrong info somewhere.

  4. Commented by: gabaghoul

    I got it off the old website as the myspace didn’t list band names. also need to get AtS on metal-archives.

  5. Commented by: Ov_theStonerTree

    Thanks for the review, I thoroughly enjoy this band.

  6. Commented by: Corbin

    NO! I am sad to hear Burst has split up. Lazarus Bird was such a monumental album. Based on this review, I’m sure I will thouroughly enjoy At the Soundawn.

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