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An improvement without big highlights - 67%

kluseba, May 31st, 2012

Honestly said, after the sequel of the "Werk 80" output, the world didn't need a sequel of the mediocre "Calling The Rain" release and one feels that the band is somewhat running low and repeating itself after so many changes of style and ideas they've had in their early years.

To my surprise, this new release sounds much better than I expected. Alexander and Yasmin Krull still can't sing very well and the ethnic "hey ya, hey ya hey" sing alongs still sound completely bland. Musically, the band surely improved. The tracks are more thought out and diversified and build up some meditative new age atmosphere that fits to the natural topics.

The introduction "A New Arrival" is a quiet but very gripping track that leads into the charming and very catchy "Call Of Yesteryear" that would have been a great highlight on "Calling The Rain". The band focusses ons ome more complex structures, gives more space to folk instruments and apeasing atmospheres as in "Silvan Spirit" or "Transilvania" that are offer an enjoyable and relaxing listening experience.

The new instrumental tracks are without a doubt more engaged than those on the precedessor. They work very well here. Another good point is that the purely instrumental tracks don't have the improved but still somewhat faceless vocals of the two singers. At least, I hear a certain effort and this records seems less spontaneous and made in a hurry than “Calling The Rain”. Maybe the abnd should have even spent more time on this release to make it more colourful and diversified.

An outstanding song is without a doubt "Black Mountain", that mixes a heavier note with brutal male vocals to the spiritual folk tones and sounds like a softer version of what the band usually played when they made their death metal influenced records. The band should have headed for more combinations of these two worlds on this record as it works quite well. The band missed the occasions and finally created a fairly better "Calling The Rain" sequel that has a very good flow but remains without highlights or big surprises apart of “Call Of Yesteryear” and “Black Mountain”.

The record is easy to digest and works well as a very harmonic and inspiring background music. There are still better combinations of rock and metal music with ethnic folk sounds but I give this record a few spins from time to time and see it as a big improvement from the first release. Nevertheless, the chapter should now be closed and the band should continue with something new and try to get back on track.

Atrocious (aren't I clever) - 10%

joncheetham88, October 2nd, 2010

Here's a new album by Atrocity, one that goes to show what an essentially insignificant force they are creatively and what a bad businessman Alexander Krull is. Why creatively spent? Because they change their sound with each album, snapping a few stolen ideas into their basic template of distorted guitars and boring male vocals (Mr. Krull, ladies and gentlemen) with no trace of evolution between albums.

And why is this such bad business? Surely a band doing this is sure to get new audiences for each album. Well, it's so hard to reconcile the folky goth rock of this record with the '80s embracing cheese orgy of Werk 80 II or the industrial gothic death metal of Atlantis, not to mention the processed goth'n'roll of Gemini. And so on into their back catalogue. So who exactly would follow this band? There is no single remarkable element of their sound that they sustain between albums, and despite the fact that this draws from an old Atrocity EP in terms of sound it might as well be a different band from what Atrocity have become. Which brings me onto another thing, it was 15 years between that EP and this - in that time, did you not listen to some ACTUAL world music? Did you not experience as we did the saturation of female-fronted crappy goth-metal and think that perhaps you might want to do something different? I guess not. It's like Chinese Democracy in terms of anticlimax, just without the amusing reactions from Beijing dailies.

'A New Arrival' kicks things off with a predictable raid of that Enya album you always hear playing in those hippy shops that sell incense and small wooden carvings for no apparent reason and at no apparent profit. Some orchestral drums as well. 'As The Sun Kissed The Sky' and several other tracks consist solely of twanging acoustic guitars and harmonized vocals that go nowhere and achieve nothing Midnattsol hasn't done better. You may as well listen to some better world music or a band who integrates these sounds a lot better, like Betray My Secrets, Shiva in Exile or SpiRitual. Check em out by the way, instead of buying this dross - oops, sorry, spoiled the ending of my review.

Self-plagiarism is evident here, with 'Call of Yesteryear' simply an updated version of 'Calling the Rain' though admittedly with Yasmin sounding a touch less awful on the vocals. Alex Krull has access to both Liv Kristine's smooth buttered pipes (he's married to them actually) and her younger sis Carmen Elise who has a much more convincing folky lilt to her voice, and plumped for this girl. Well it is his sister. I shan't be holding back though. The hey-hey-a-hey-a-hey type singing is overused, the false warbling tonal modulations by Yasmin are inauthentic and Krull's vocal contributions are characteristically cringy.

The "ethnic" isn't good then, and the "metal" isn't good either. There's barely any guitars on here, but when they do show up they do even less than in Leaves' Eyes, just blaring along shapelessly beneath the vocals and twanging folk instruments. 'Black Mountain' attempts some Am Universum-era Amorphis freakouts on lead guitar which is a momentary save, and despite the cheesy growls this is a rare interesting moment. 'Transilvania', another "metal" song is a total bore, by this point the flutes aren't even entertaining me to the same extent they do on say, Equilibrium, or other bands that use them as an exciting gimmick with some success.

The album is boring enough to totally drain your energy. If you really must have a regular dose of metal with female vocals that's catchy and accessible with a bunch of different influences, go for Tristania's latest which is very good. Or push the boat out and check out Jex Thoth ('70s Black Sabbath with boobs). If you want lovely, worldy ethnic music from the heart, check out the music of Japanese honey Akiko Shikata, she's fucking awesome.