Atrum Tempestas - Néant

3 songs
31:45 minutes
***** **


Music knows no boundaries, or how else could you explain how a Finnish band would sign on a Portuguese label, two countries that couldn’t be located further apart from each other on the European continent. But maybe the label’s name Nordavind should be a hint at their love for Northern metal sounds, and in the case of Atrum Tempestas, we are in the presence of two musicians from Oulu, one of the most Northern cities in the world.

Atrum Tempestas play atmospheric black metal, and after the EP Ne Deus Crede in 2012, they are now back with their first longplayer Néant. Although longplayer is a big word, considering that the three songs are barely making it over half an hour. The opener Quitter ceux qui étaient déjà partis is nearly a quarter hour long and thus taking up nearly one half of the running time. I have to admit that I was astonished at how moderate the duo is sounding, as I was expecting something much rawer than what is presented here. Kylmäaho and Perttunen, the latter also known as the current vocalist of popular melodic death metal band Catamenia, are apparently both in charge of the vocals and playing all the instruments, and with only two guys at work, the result still sounds very much like a real band. The opening epic starts as a mid-tempo black metal song with gothic melodies floating underneath the song. A couple of minutes into the song, it is obvious that post rock has also left an influence. Deafheaven comes to mind, but also the elegy of Sigur Ros is no stranger to the band. The production is top notch, and there is even quite a lot of bass guitar, which is unusual for the genre and therefore sets Atrum Tempestas apart from the stereotypical black metal acts. S’éclipser is six minutes long, and thus the shortest track on the album, and frankly, it is here where the duo is acting at its most brilliant. Where the opener had occasional parts that were a bit lengthy, they come faster to the point on song number two. Et après... le néant is another long track with eleven minutes, and just like on the other monster piece, there are once again moments that are stretching out for too long, especially the concluding movement. Otherwise this is quite tasty material, with some faster moments and even a piano part. The only question that remains is why the songs have French titles.

Atrum Tempestas are certainly on the right track, but they might either concentrate on composing more concise material, or beefing up their long tracks with more ideas. At times one might wish the band to sound a little more extreme and unpredictable, but maybe I just entered Néant with misleading expectations. This might sound a little harsh, but these are in the end only minor points of complaints, as the general impression is quite positive, showing a band that still seems to find its own sound, and promising that once it has arrived at its artistic destination, it will have quite some surprises in store for their audience.

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