Atriarch - Forever the End (LP)
Catalog number: SRULE XXIII
Oppressive in its atmosphere and crafted with an unrelenting darkness of aesthetic, Forever the End, from Portland, Oregon’s Atriarch is an intelligent masterwork that harkens to a very particular sense of drama. It’s a grieving, sorrowful atmosphere, playing modern doom tonality off depressive ‘90s-style guitar weeping that’s more Gothic than “gothic,” but owes something to drunken teenage late nights spent hanging out in cemeteries nonetheless. The four mostly-extended tracks of Forever the End keep to linear structures, and the result is they flow together almost as one larger piece. That they’re wrapped around a central and pervasive sonic misanthropy only enhances this feel, and through all of “Plague,” “Shadows,” “Fracture” and “Downfall,” Atriarch balance doomed heaviness with black metal’s cultish sensibility, vocalist Lenny resting far back in the mix for vicious cavern screams or cutting through with a sort of monotonic clean singing.
It’s an easy release to be excited about for its effective blend of modern doom and black metal – like Cough’s first record with more emotional flair – but Atriarch back up the surface hype with an obvious strive for individuality that one imagines will only help distinguish them going forward. Heavy tone, heavy heart.