Giving an album the title ‘Absolution’ immediately evokes a powerful sense of liberation and the proverbial casting of chains. However, seeing this is from a band who have essentially lay dormant for a decade or more, it appears to be quite the opposite.
Atavist have channelled a soundscape here which appears to be built entirely from every punishing hour of their self-imposed exile. This is the music of pain, of mourning and, predominantly of despair. As with the imposing balance of life, there is a beauty in this inner decay. Shards of glimmering hope hover over the depths of opener ‘Loss’ and the turning point of the album ‘Self-Realisation’. However, it’s the final track ‘Absolution’ where, incredibly, those shards are plucked out of the air and used to slice a crevice down the length of your arm.
‘Absolution’ is nigh on a perfect doom album for me. It maintains sufficient elements of that particular genre but place them squarely under a visceral, carnivorous black metal sheen. Given the heritage of some of the members of the band, this is not surprising. Strip away your guises, pinpoint your fears and, without a doubt, let Atavist do the rest.