Atavistia
The Winter Way

There must be a huge Finnish or Scandinavian poplace or cultural influence in Canada right? Other wise  why is there such a surprisingly  large amount of solid Finnish sounding epic/folk/viking bands there? Blackguard/Profugus Mortis, Crimson Shadows, Vesperia/Bolero, Battlesoul. Will of the Ancients, Nordheim, Valfreya just to name a few. Well, add Vancouver’s Atavistia to that impressive list.

This is the band’ second album, and I’ve not heard 2017s One Within the Sun, but with a press release that name-dropped Ensiferum, Wintersun, and Dimmu Borgir as well as being named after one of my favorite Borknagar songs, checking The Winter Way out was a no brainer. And it turned out to be everything I hoped it would be.

Make no bones, this is pure Wintersun, Norther and Ensiferum worship like many of their Canadian brethren listed above. It’s epic melodic, bombastic power metal/melodic death metal with harsh rasps (as well as some clean make and female vocals) and lots of sweeping keyboards. In fact, the keyboards are some of the better ones I’ve heard in a while with a heavy-handed presence akin to their Finnish peers and even Swedes Skyfire.

As with Wintersun, these guys like their long-winded songs, as 6 of the 7 songs (“From the Ancient Stones” is an intro) flirt with the 10 minute and over mark. Some are slower and more patient (“The Atavistic Forest”, “The Winter Way”) but still epic as heck, some are faster (“Through the Hollow Raven’s Eyes”, “The Forbidden One”), and they are a bit more engaging, some are a bit of both (“Dawn of the Frozen Age”). The track I checked out first, that prompted a review and immediate preorder, “Through the Hollow Raven’s Eyes”, is a 9 minute, downright glorious bombastic, choral blaster with a few slower parts thrown in and one of the best songs in the epic, Finnish style since “Forgive Me Not” and “Of Clarity & Regret” from Frost Giant‘s The Harlot Star   or Crimfall’s “The Last of Stands” from a couple of years ago.

The rest of the album has a hard time matching that track, but it’s still full of solid, soaring Finnish majesty, if a little more controlled and paced. You get “Eternal Oceans” which as a pretty cool regal march at its final stages, then the varied “Dawn of the Frozen Age” has one its start.

If you are sick of Jari Mäenpää begging for money to record more underwhelming Wintersun releases every 5 to 8 years , give Atavistia a shot, as they certainly fill a niche and wear their influences unashamedly on their sleeves with excellent results.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
June 18th, 2020

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