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Atra Aeterna – “Rift” Review

Atra Aeterna, we at HPM love the beauty in his breakdown on the speakers. With “Rift” things take a more percussive approach to the noises and crawling that usually goes on. Things are more electric.

Opening with “Ender” a simple four chord riff repeats whilst thin whispy drums drowning in reverb float over them and some flicking synths echo over themselves in a spacious mess. It’s lack of bass gives weight to the emotion. “Blackgounds” again brings out the big echoed drums over thin organs this time as everlooping riffs continue on. “Streetwalker” is more guitar focused with slower swinging drums and thing high-pitched solemn keyboards adding to the atmosphere. “Aztek Part II” returns to the weird electric drip/whip samples from the opening track and gives it more of a sonic boost with some relatively uploading chord structures – something new for Atra!!!

“About Her” brings empty organs and synths to the foreground. They almost over compensate by drowning things out and this makes the whole track sound very gritty and rough round the edges, giving it quite a bit of charm. “883RS” is another trip beat track using muffled electric piano – something that “Empire” does with slightly more distinction with its varied drum structures and use of stereo panning. “Hemitrope” returns to the grizzly guitar/piano hybrids as I’m unsure what they are. The percussive loops are particularly well done here in this chill out/spook out track. “Alcyone” actually feels enlightening with the bright piano sounds and the celestial keyboards filling the speakers whilst echoed drum sticks click on the drum tops. Title track “Rift” is a culmination of all the above. Taking parts of the airy side of the album and all the percussive elements it weaves a beautiful chill out track before “Aya Edea” performs a downplayed outro of muddy keyboards and epic spacious drum beats.

Different from his normal output, Atra Aeterna successfully gives us his own version of chill-out. It’s still muddy and there’s still a definite lonesome feeling to all the work, but this is his most straight forward entry to date.

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