11/27/2015

CD Review: Atropos Project - Towards Firmament

Short Introduction

Atropos Project plays instrumental music with a lot of progressive and metal elements in them. The band started out as a one man project and saw it's first release with the full length album "Equator" in 2013. In the meatime John Quarles, who writes and plays nearly all the music has created a follow up record called "Towards Firmament" in his studio in New York. The new album will see the light of day on December 1st 2015.
(c) by Atropos Project, used with kind permission



Summary / Player / Purchase-Link

I am very glad that this outstanding project survived the tides of time. In the two years since the first album Atropos Project developed the song-structures quite a lot. I mean the first album was great but this one shows a bit more precisely that John Quarles has learned a lot when it comes to writing songs. The new tracks that will be released soon have more structure, often follow more a main theme or topic as the songs on "Equator" did.

Still the great thing is that it doesn't miss the fun aspect of music. You can hear a lot of parts on the album where especially all the musicians amongst you out there can nearly re-feel the positive vibes and emotions that John might have been in when writing, producing and recording these songs. You can feel a lot of jazz vibe in the music and that's what makes this recording sound so different from other's that go into the same direction. It comes out with a jam-feeling to it, a great emotion to me. This feeling when everything seem's to come together in a good mood and everyone involved throw's in his power and talent to it.

It sounds very powerfull and hard but also melodic and very versatile when it comes to the playing techniques and styles of the various tracks. One can quickly point out that it's a typically Atropos Project recording you're listening to.

The first half of the album comes more direct while the second one needs more time to fully sink in. Don't let this stop you from buying. I would like to encourage everyone out there dedicated with the full heart and soul to music to buy this diamond. It's always surprising to see how intensive a record can be - this one will be a journey you'll love and enjoy. Just give it a try.

It's also a great idea for a christmas gift if you know someone out there that has this dedication towards music. It will be a great surprise and I think a album one will enjoy even more with every listen. Remember that Bandcamp also offers the possibility to gift someone with a download code directly through the plattform's shop system.

"Towards Firmament" will be available through the Bandcamp page of Atropos Project starting December 1st 2015. It will also be available through other digital merchants such as CDBaby, Itunes, including streaming at Spotify, Google Play, etc. There are no physical copies planned unless demand warrants it this time around.
Note:  I'll add the exact links to the purchase and streaming plattforms once they've been released so please check back if you're interested in buying or listening to the album. The same goes for the album stream. If it should go online I'll add it here, too.

Currently a preview can be accessed through YouTube that gives a good overview on the album with excerpts of each and every track. Just click on the player below, it only takes a few minutes to listen to it.


Update 01.12.2015: The full album stream is online so I've added it here as promised.  
Album Overview (Track-by-track review)

The Slide: The tracks starts with a few broken notes at the beginning and then goes over to a midtempo slower stomping track with full distortion. Sounds very powerfull and heavy. A keyboard intermission lights up the dark feeling of the track with a lighter melody. The track becomes faster and takes up some tempo. A intensive shred section dominates the last third of this opening song before it finally ends on some strange noise. A great opener!

Bent Crown: A rough and compact but also short intro section kicks us into the second number. It finally let's us fall onto some softer notes that finally form the main theme for this song. The rhythm changed to fit to the guitars. A lot of jazzy feelings in here. This is one of my absolte favorites of the album. The jam feeling comes a lot into play on this one. A new melody abruptly comes in giving it a dreaming theme in between just to be followed on a new part that wraps the melody into a rougher noise guitar vibe and rhythm. The melody continues to shine through. Beautiful part! Finally the rougher part get's more intensive and starts to dominate the track giving it a blistering intermission with a fitting rhythm section. The song goes back to the starting theme to start a little play-around with it before climating into going faster with every round further. I love this!

Block No Light: The opening riff makes it already clear that this track comes around a lot sharper and heavier than the previous one. The main theme morphs and forms a lot as the track progresses even further maintaining all the while it's rough style. Finally a new melody comes up giving it a more melodic and mysteric touch. A ghostly feeling comes up before a sharper midtempo riffer rushes in that opens up the way for some keyboard elements which give it a epic theme. The end comes fast and abrupt but also very fitting to the track.

Alchemist: The fifth album track starts out with some soft introduction notes before heading on to a straight rocking number. The short break with silence comes as a surprise but the melody rushes in even better afterwards. Throughout all the changes the song always remains heading straight on forward in a faster mood. The end presents a lot of distortion and drums playing along to it. It plugs out quickly but all of this feels as if it should be this way.

Expeller: This one opens up quite epic with walls of sound of guitar and keyboards. It transforms further into a midtempo number with heavily distorted guitars and a lot of shred formed into the sound. Finally clear guitars softly come in just to leave as fast as they came. The walls of guitars seem to reflect into the music once again before a string of clear guitar melodies form a soft touching outro to this outstanding track. You'll remember it often afterwards.

Towards Firmament: A rather unusual beginning for this Atropos Project tune with a soft arrangement of guitar strings along with few percussive elements at the start. Rough and dry guitars come in forming a pulsating noise gate that along with the constant rhythm sharps the heaviest track of this second album. It's a big surprise even if you're familar with the sound of this instrumental project. The end gives in some more relaxed parts that form a contrast to the first section that is overwhelming with it's sheer intensive power. Surely a track that set's a mark in the world of heavy instrumental music.

Sistine: This one starts out softly. It has overall a lighter feeling to it with percusson adding to it. Thoughout all the variations a main theme runs through all the parts giving this a heavy jamming attitude. It has a attempt like "Bent Crown" in it. The drumming is more versatile and faster but the guitars go more directly on it. A overall straighter number but with the slight progressive elements I like in this music so much.

Red Roads: We reach the final track of this album. It welcomes us with soft keyboards. The eight song plays around a bit before it comes to the next section - a riff hacking heavy track that has a epic keyboard theme with it that seems to form a echo for the guitars. The hacked notes come back in with much jamming added to it. It plays around a lot with the variations that can be made of it and John Quarles knows how to use them. It's great to see what can be made of single elements and this track shows the variations you can make of it. I hope the journey this album provides can be continued one day. I would love to go on. As for the first I'll put it on repeat and enjoy it a second time that's for sure.

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