on 9 December 2010
You may find the number of tracks on this album a little off-putting, as eight songs might not seem worth paying a tenner for. However, if you like the sort of progressive trash/death/metalcore that ATB are famous for, this is definitely something to get. There are similarities to their previous works, the chugging rhythms, the ridiculous shredding (they use 8-string guitars! EIGHT!), the almost-but-not-quite breakdowns and the seemingly random transitions between 4:4, 3:4, 7:8 and 9:8 timing conjuring plenty of nostalgic memories of Rareform and Forging A Future Self. ATB have done a bit of musical innovation, though; with the odd bit of clean vocals, which might not be everyone's tastes, and more melody in the first few tracks. In Dreams makes for a interesting listen, as ATB have given some of the songs oddly ambient parts, which work beautifully. One of the reasons for the eight tracks is that there's no "filler" that is often inevitable for long albums. All the tracks are impeccably written and played, with the riffs never becoming boring and all the songs are memorable, my favourite being track two, "Your Troubles Will Cease And Fortune Will Smile Upon You". My only whinge is that the mixing on the album isn't perfect, with the vocals a little loud sometimes, almost dominating, same with the drums, to a lesser extent (none of the dreaded snare-echo though, thank god), and the guitars' mid frequencies get drowned out occasionally. The bass is sometimes completely inaudible, but that's not unusual for bands of this genre (in fact, there's a really cool slap-bass riff in the first minute or so of track eight, Encased In Ice, which is really pleasing to hear as a bassist). But really, with the negatives I'm nit-picking there, and it's hardly noticable. This album is absolutely great. In answer to the title of this review, it's probably better than Rareform. Buy it. Buy it now.