This is the début album by a trio of pretty accomplished musicians with a healthy résumé. Their logo and album cover definitely having roots in Caleb Bingham and Brandon Miller’s previous band Ascension. They are joined by veteran drummer Jason West, enabling them to move effortlessly from ballad-like gentleness to hyper-blasting death metal at the crash of a cymbal. Caleb also has no problems flitting between harmoniously sung clean vocals and guttural death growls on a whim, which suits the song writing perfectly.
Caleb’s clean guitar intro, containing a line from ‘The Matrix’, flows seamlessly into the heavier guitar riff just before the drums and vocals for “Read Between The Lines” come in. The mid-tempoed song works both the melody and heaviness to get the best of both and leaving you wanting to hear where they progress from here.
The heavy rumble of Brandon’s bass is filled with pops that accompany the riff changes on “Spoils Of War”, where the clean vocals and accompanying black metal rasps give the song the right amount of melody to temper the aggression, along with a flowing lead guitar break.
Within a couple seconds of “The Order Of The Silver Compass” starting, the harsh rasp of the vocals is nigh drowned out by the blasting drums and heavy guitars, only to have the chorus kick in with a melodic vocal and guitar harmony to change the feel before heading back to heavier verse.
Alternating between slow and heavy, and fast and heavier “Cyclops Lord (My Will Is Done)” has a wailing lead subtly lying below the main guitar riff throughout the song, which keeps drawing your ear back to it.
Spending plenty of time on the album swapping between aggression and melody, “The Bohemian” is no different, but as they do it rather well it’s not an issue.
“Mechanized Assault” has a great Dimmu feel to both the vocals and the guitars and is easily a favourite on the album, with the lead being rapid and majestic simultaneously.
The fact that there’s a lead from the get go on “Nightmare Sound” adds to the hard rock feel of the song, but it’s the acerbic vocals that make sure it isn’t mundane, which if it had only had the melodic vocals would have been its downfall.
The album winds down with “White Horse”, where Caleb’s voice really shines as he sings over his acoustic guitar before the guitars pick up making his add a bit more strength to his delivery, however without any loss of emotion or melody. The lead on the song is also impeccably suited to the style of the song, which shall have phones waved high above heads, in the way lighters were in the 80s.
Having never listened to any of the bands they came from before forming Athanasia, I came into this having no preconceptions of what they would sound like and am glad to say it was rather enjoyable.
(8/10 – Marco Gaminara)