Atius- Gods of Science

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Thursday, May 9, 2013

Denmark’s Atius has been around since 2004, but like quite a few other metal bands they have spent many years fine tuning their material before putting out a full length album. Their debut Gods of Science was self-released at the end of last year, and it finds the group playing black metal that skews towards the melodic, slower paced side of the genre. Alongside the chilling black metal base Atius has also incorporated some melodic death metal and heavy metal elements, and while the instrumentals sometimes sound a bit too thin to fully realize the level of impact the band is seeking with their arrangements the material still showcases plenty of promise.

At the core of this band’s sound is the type of chilling melodic riffs that have been a hallmark of European black metal for quite some time. But rather than going for blasting assaults, Atius is often focused on mid-tempo and slower arrangements with the occasional faster moment. The riffs are quite strong, and although black metal remains the most prominent stylistic element throughout Gods of Science there are a few sections where the instrumentals take on the sweeping leads of melodic death metal as well as some galloping Iron Maiden style heavy metal. Although these end up being minor elements, it helps to give the group variation and helps to establish some strong hooks. However, my only complaint is that there are a number of tracks where the guitars sound a bit too thin and don’t completely fill out the sound, which leaves some of the riffs coming off as a bit flat. Considering that Atius is going for an epic feel, this keeps some of their ideas from reaching their full level of impact and if they can achieve a stronger, fuller instrumental sound next time around I believe it would make a big difference.

Lead singer Morten Jensen has a higher pitched shriek that is extremely distorted. There are some lower pitched growls that act as backups on some tracks, but for the most part Jensen’s scream dominates the material and is one of the most prominent elements in the mix. I have always found that this type of pitch has been one that listeners either love or hate, as the raspier tone can become a bit much for some people. But I thought it worked well with the group’s instrumentals and remained consistently strong throughout, and it was great to see that the vocals were front and center and able to engage from one moment to the next. Overall, Jensen’s performance is an area of Atius’ material that I am satisfied with and if they can keep just a little bit of variation in the form of the lower screams/growls it will continue to help the vocal arrangements stand out.

Despite the fact that there was something about the guitar sound on certain tracks that didn’t quite click with me, I like the material quite a bit. Atius’ combination of melodic black metal with flourishes of melodic death metal and heavy metal works quite well, and their riffs definitely have staying power. But if they can find a way for the instrumentals to make even more of an impact I think it would take their music to the next level. Improving on production values is certainly easier than improving songwriting, so these guys are already a step ahead and have laid out strong groundwork for bigger and better things. I’ll be awaiting their next move, but in the meantime will likely find myself returning to this debut.

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