The Atlas MothA Glorified Piece of Blue-Sky
Rating: 3.5/5.0 – A mix of sounds that works very well, but doesn’t stand out for me..
Label: Candlelight
Website: theatlasmoth.com
Release Date(s): EU: 21.09.2009 | USA: 10.6.2009

THE_ATLAS_MOTH_-_A_GLORIFIED_PIECE_OF_BLUE_SKY_artworkSludge, and many variations thereof, have definitely been working their way into the “mainstream” consciousness of heavy metal guys for a long time.   Bands like Neurosis, Isis and all of their clones have permeated the hard skin of heavy metal, giving it something rawer, weirder and that makes heavy happen through slowness more than through technical insanity.  The Atlas Moth follows in that vein very much, blending sludge, southern groove and what sounds to me like a very Cult of Luna, Neurosis hardcore approach that is sure to please the fans of this style.

A Glorified Piece of Blue-Sky isn’t the worlds greatest piece of sludge art or anything, but they have managed to make a sound that I don’t find even remotely compelling 99% of the time, and add something to it that I really have to appreciate.  One thing that does it for me is the production of the album, which sounds like these guys are grooving in a big dark cave somewhere.  This, combined with the fact that The Atlas Moth takes their sweet-ass time getting anywhere at all with their tracks, gives this record an ambience that shouldn’t be overlooked.  In an era of pristine clean production, A Glorified Piece of Blue-Sky is a wittily titled dissertation on the understanding of groove, ambience and heaviness in the epoch of triggers and sterility.

Of course, aspects of that ambience I could do away with.  Fun space noises?  Over-rated and boring.  But the tracks themselves The Atlas Moth_1are well-crafted, highly convincing and there is an emotional weight which seems to overlay this record in a way that a lot of bands are missing—it’s something that I think goes missing a lot in metal.  In some ways, despite the fact that these guys don’t really sound like it, they have a big of My Dying Bride buried deep down there or something.  Another important thing that stands out about this record is how brutally heavy it is at times, despite being technically very simplistic.  I have commented in the past, and to people personally, that a lot of metal doesn’t feel like it has an edge anymore.  Certain projects sound like something middle-age women who appreciate such stellar artists like Michael Bolton would fall in love with.  The Atlas Moth does not suffer from this fatal flaw.  The sound is huge, raw and heavy, with a wide range of vocals and a thick punching low end.

There is a major drawback for me, and that’s that the songs don’t seem to stick.  Despite being heavy, groovy and ambient, there are only a few moments on this album that really stand out for me.  The rest of it feels, honestly, like I could be listening to the same song on every track.  Is it one big 50 minute song that I’m listening to?  This is an unfortunate weakness that a lot of sludge has for me.  While there are some cool things and I appreciate the ambience, it works better as background music than it does as something I feel like actively istening to.   That said, I think this album will definitely go over well with fans of the genre.  While it’s not terribly dynamic, in my opinion, it definitely offers something more than a lot of the shit I’ve heard in the genre.

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