Atriarch - Death As Truth album review

Anguished Oregon quartet dangle the baby over the bathwater

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Atriarch’s fourth full-length is curious in how it presents its doomed-out death-rock – with six songs in 32 minutes, it’s their most succinct effort. Like Neurosis and Swans, Atriarch have masterful control over tension and release, each song executed decisively. The drums churn in tribal rhythms and intermittent blasts, but the guitars take a more submissive role, allowing vocalist Lenny Smith to dominate proceedings. His possessed, chameleon jabber – channelling Mark E Smith, Carl McCoy, Tom G Fischer and Mike IX Williams – is Atriarch’s greatest strength, his lyrics dripping with misanthropic anguish. But where previously they painted nihilistic visions using a greater palette of tones and styles, musically, Death As Truth is too monochrome. This may have been a conscious choice to maintain uniformity, and the short run-time doesn’t make it a huge issue, yet some void-shattering instrumental dimensions are clearly missing, despite the depths of Lenny’s despondency.

FOR FANS OF: Neurosis, Fields Of The Nephilim, Alaric