Album Review: Atarka – Sleeping Giant

Album Review: Atarka - Sleeping Giant

Album Review: Atarka - Sleeping Giant
Reviewed by Robbie Maguire

As ever the industrial heartland of the UK, the Midlands continues in its ability to be a fertile breeding ground for metal. There must be something very magical and potent in the water in and around the home of heavy metal for the spawning and development of new exciting metal sees no signs of abating. Clearly Atarka have been downing copious amounts of the creative elixir for with ‘Sleeping Giant’ they have produced an album that will amaze and stun in equal measure. A bold statement you may say especially as this is not only a debut but self-released and by a band so fresh into what rightfully should be a very long and creative stay in the burgeoning UK metal scene.

After the initial unnerving and eerie ambience of the title track you are immediately thrown against a brick wall and that’s where you shall stay for the remainder of the album, unable to leave and with little respite from the bludgeoning modern wall of noise. ‘The Bastard’ sets the album off with an blistering energy that is a constant throughout and a joyously evil yet crisp guitar tone that simply rages making for a compelling listen.

‘Tollund Man’ has a menacing stomp and mysterious feel as you’d expect from song about the bodies found in peat bogs in Denmark. Guttural roars, abrasive screams heighten the despairing and macabre nature and thankfully they don’t overuse the vocals. There is enough space and time afforded, allowing the music to not be stunted by the clearly impressively evil vocals. For the thrashers out there ‘Golden Snake’ is an addictive rager of a song, complete with catchy cleanly sung chorus. Stunning leadwork in the epic black metal esque ‘Miasma’ further cements the albums strength as it progresses. Atarka’s ability to mix sounds and influences is executed without any detriment to any of the styles nor does it sound contrived. As comfortable as they are mixing the heaviest riffs, blast beats with mainstream bothering choruses is a strength that must be applauded.

Album Review: Atarka - Sleeping Giant

With ‘Nebula’ you feel there may be a brief slowing down of intensity and maybe time to break from that brick wall you’ve been flung against. The respite that is hinted doesn’t come as the blistering juggernaut continues to pulverise. Disciples of groove laden, irrepressible heavy metal will be duly satisfied. That appetite having been fed so well must come to an end and so it falls to ‘Delacroix’ to close proceedings. It twists and turns unleashing all its Black metal fury and its grand modern metal. A song of two halves it seems. With a fade out it fills like an uncharacteristic anti-climax to the album. However, be it the second part of the song or possibly a ‘hidden’ track a sumptuous doomy, psych infused instrumental takes the responsibility of closing ’Sleeping Giant’ in an unpredictable yet classy manner.

To say there is variety would be a contradiction and also an understatement. There is a very recognisable sound to the modern metal which remains throughout ‘Sleeping Giant‘ and the heavy groove tones that are prevalent more than hint to the Scandinavian pioneers of the metal core sound. Don’t be put off as if that is not pure enough for your tastes as there is a nod to classic Death metal, doom and on many occasions, Black metal, which Atarka have a real clever understanding of how it works. Atarka are proudly wearing their creative influences on their arm but more than inject their own character and personality into the sound. A sound that whilst is familiar has an instant captivating quality. Despite so much going on the huge production allows the brutal punishing songs to sound polished in a contemporary way. ‘Sleeping Giant’ feels and sounds like a modern metal album but with the sentiment and identity also of an album from the classic era of the many influences within its beating heartbeat.

Simply put it’s an album that not only sees the ‘Sleeping Giant’ awaken but powerfully announces the arrival of Atarka onto the Metal scene. There’s no knowing if the current worldwide situation and the timing of this release may have scuppered their potential rise to prominence but it’s clear that with the class and ability on show here, Atarka are a band you will be hearing more of. So, couple this with the hope that the metal gods smiling on them and the future is indeed very positive for Atarka. Don’t leave it to them though… yourself a favour, don’t let this blistering statement of modern metal pass you by. Check it out!

For all the latest news, reviews, interviews across the heavy metal spectrum follow THE RAZORS'S EDGE on facebook, twitter and instagram.