Daily struggles, shadows, life and death. That’s the latest album of DOWNFALL OF GAIA called “Atrophy”. Black metal meets with post in an indistinguishable combination of the two genres and an endless journey begins.
From its start the album is obviously a melodic one. The atmospheric guitar intro detaches you from this world as the slow paced riff speaks directly to your soul. The amazing thing is that the whole album progresses that way. Melodic riffs, excellent chord progressions, beautiful solos. Thankfully, that’s not everything this album has to offer. The peaceful ambient riff is disrupted by a brutal blast beat combined with palm mutes, yet melodic, guitars and the classic black metal vocals. The aggressive drums compliment the guitar parts, delivering an original and elegant black metal sound. However, Michael Kadnar, did not spent all his energy on aggressive rhythms. During the slow paced guitar riffs, the drums support the guitar filling the voids and in the same time creating a unique post atmosphere.
“A journey through life and death, through emotions.”
Even though the album consists of eight-minute songs, not a single one of them is dragging. Each riff, is followed by an even better one, hooking your attention almost instantly. The switches between slow-paced to fast-paced, from melodic to true black, are smooth and delicate creating a feeling of cohesion. The impressive element of the album, that makes it so special, is the fact that even though there are no lyrics, the songs still keep sending clear messages, creating emotions. As the band said “It is an album about life and death” and that is made clear throughout the album. From the true black moments, there is a transit to something dark yet hopeful. From despair to something colorful. The whole record is emitting a feeling of shadows and mist with a flare of light inside.
In many ways, it is a classic post black album, using some pretty standard and overused techniques. However, it is impressive how “Atrophy” has a particular way of using those well-known techniques and still captivate the listeners. Most of the riffs are pretty minimalistic, but the guitar tone combined with all the other elements, create a truly rare result that is extremely hard to describe. Nonetheless, as a drawback, the screams were a lit bit misplaced, ruining sometimes the moment instead of enforcing it. Most of the vocals were abstract, giving the impression that random screams were scattered throughout the record. Some of them were great, while others were just not that accurate.
I strongly believe, that “Atrophy” is not a standard album, it is a journey through life and death, through emotions. It is one of the most remarkable records I had in my hands lately and at this point, I’m not even sure why. Not only their music makes you live the moments, it creates images inside your head. To top it all off, the album closes with a sweet piano solo, that should have been used throughout the rest of the album as well. DOWNFALL OF GAIA definitely gave post black another instance and meaning creating something amazing.