Hailing from Ghent (that’s Belgium, not Kent… which isn’t), Atlas are a post-hardcore band with very emotive / emotional vocals. They’ve recently released their album Blush and they sent us a copy for review. Always one to try something new, I dug in.
I’ve often found the post-hardcore genre a little hard to get into, partly due to the vocals. However, it’s a mood thing and I just find that I have to approach them in the right state of mind. Indeed, I’ve enjoyed quite a few bands who play in this style, and you can add Atlas to that growing heap.
The whole album has a well produced feel to it while still managing to have rough edges. There are no real gentle moments, even when Jan’s guitar tones are warm, due to Jeroen’s near-incessant vocal screams. “Youth” has one of the few relaxed passages, a comparatively calm song amongst many battering storms. Indeed, the closing third – similarly to a large part of “I Worship the River” – could almost pass itself off as beat poetry (go and watch So I Married An Axe Murderer for reference material).
From the intense barrage that is “Three a.m.” to the slower, but no less heavy, “Sleepers” Atlas have a good collection of songs here. The one thing they have in common is that they’re all leaking vast quantities of angst. Maxime’s bass is a major part of the band’s sound, acting as more than just a rhythm-keeper throughout. Those duties fall mainly to Jens on the drums.
While Blush isn’t an album I’d listen to on a regular basis – it’s not really my kind of thing – it is one I’ve enjoyed playing a dozen or so times for the purposes of reviewing it and I’ll definitely come back to it when the time is right. A contemplative evening, kicking back with the headphones on and a good book would be about right for me. Certainly not a record to put on when you’re getting ready to go out to a Christmas party. Unless you’re a complete grouch… which I am, come to think of it.
For those living over that way, you can catch the band live on December 16th in Ghent itself, or on February 4th in Liége (a particularly lovely city).