WORDS: Henry Jones
There’s a lot of potential, in this day and age, to be simply left behind in a relatively short space of time. For the more challenging and thematic acts, the traditional two year album cycle is simply not an option, presenting to the public the case of Poland’s LOST SOUL.
Originating from a nation that produced such seminal extreme metal acts as BEHEMOTH, HATE, and VADER, the band in question has a lot to draw from in terms of inspiration and valuable lessons on which pitfalls to avoid. But with a solid six years between them and their last full length record, they have a lot to prove, and certainly a lot to live up to, considering the massive leap forward that was 2009’s Immerse In Infinity, which set an incredibly high standard for technical death metal.
Six years have been well spent, it seems, as Atlantis: The New Beginning is a lengthy album. But where others have fallen prey to bloated excesses and pretentious storytelling on lengthy releases, LOST SOUL have opted for a display of musicianship above all else. If previous releases were not proof enough, Atlantis serves an effective reminder to the true measure of Polish extreme metal.
Continuing to employ extended range guitars, LOST SOUL have reimagined their sound into something disparate, something dark. The combination of twisted, chaotic chord progressions and harmonies airing the slight scent of a black metal influence, relentless blast beats, and virtuosic lead work make for a violent and satisfyingly complex experience. The solos in particular are of note, displaying guitarist and vocalist Jacek Grecki’s incredibly dextrous and aggressive style in fantastic fashion, exhibited in the soaring alternate picking runs and tastefully phrased melodies spread throughout the record.
However, the record’s technicality is also its greatest downfall. Because of the extremely erratic nature of many of the album’s riffs, eventually the sound loses cohesion. While the riffs are very strong, emotive, and complex pieces, the sound evolves very quickly, often leaving behind particularly brilliant sections before they have a chance to flesh themselves out. While this complaint isn’t overwhelming prevalent, one can’t help but feel a slight disjointed nature in the listening experience.
The production also somewhat mars the experience. It’s not that the production is substandard, but stepping from under the shadow of 2009 leviathan Immerse In Infinity’s production after a lengthy wait for the record has left a lot to be desired. Atlantis’ snare tone could certainly be given an increase in low end presence. The guitar tone, on the other hand, revels in the low end, carrying the natural intonation of its extended range into the record in the form of huge bends and ominously distinct open notes. Despite the satisfying guitar tone, nevertheless, the overall production does fall somewhat flat.
The album, however, succeeds excessively in other areas. Taking on board a slight black metal influence to the chord progressions and writing style has resulted in a sound akin to more recent BEHEMOTH albums, which proves refreshing and technically refined in LOST SOUL’s hands. The sonic landscape created captures the best elements of blackened death metal and its technical cousin, combining them in a swirling cacophony of blast beats, volatile riffs, harmonic minor runs without end, and a hugely ambitious step forward for modern death metal.
While the production of the album is not exactly perfect, and the very nature of the music itself can sometimes prove a challenge to itself, Atlantis: A New Beginning boasts a vicious display of some of the best musicianship in the technical death metal genre, including an expertly crafted guest solo by Dave Suzuki (ex-VITAL REMAINS). Very few albums can boast such a consistent pace or quality of writing over such a lengthy release, especially in such a challenging genre. This is one of the finer releases in the technically focused side of extreme metal, and though it has its flaws, it was certainly worth the wait.
Atlantis: The New Beginning is set for release on October 30th via Apostasy Records.