Beneath the Cosmic Silence, the new album by the Florida progressive death metal band Atlas Entity, proves to be appealing on many levels. For those with a taste for fleet-fingered guitar technicality and agile, astute, and creative drumwork, it will deliver enormous smiles — in part because the top-shelf performance skill isn’t brandished for its own sake, but employed in the service of well-crafted songs. For listeners who enjoy becoming immersed in memorable, mood-changing melodies, both introspective and riotous, it offers that too. People who relish biting savagery will also get their fix. But perhaps above all else, the music is bursting with life — the kind of album whose irrepressible vitality makes you feel good to be alive, no matter how shitty your personal circumstances might be going into it.
The album also incorporates some evolutions in sound as compared to the band’s previous release, the 2015 EP Enceladus, even though the same two people are at the helm — composer, multi-instrumentalist, and vocalist Alex Gallegos and session drummer Samus Paulicelli (Decrepit Birth, Devin Townsend). And as compared to that first release, this one represents a big step forward. We’re very happy to present a full stream of it today in advance of its release on June 14th.
Before we go further with a few more impressions of our own about what the album holds in store, perhaps it’s best to begin with some reflections about it from Atlas Entity:
“Songs from Beneath the Cosmic Silence cover various topics and stories such as becoming the wendigo, desert ghosts searching for their rightful place, lost gold beneath the mountains of Arizona, and more. This album is a bit of a departure from our previous release Enceladus, whereas the focus was more on the composition of the songs rather than raw technicality. While there are several technical parts in Beneath the Cosmic Silence, I wouldn’t call it a “tech-death” album. I think this album would be enjoyed most by people who are fans of older Opeth, Amorphis, Agalloch, Falls of Rauros, and perhaps In Flames as well.”
As those comments forecast, the music on the album is multi-faceted — even more so than on Enceladus. Among other things, there is greater vocal variety, as Gallegos mixes in very good clean vocals (both somber and soaring) along with vicious growls, cauterizing shrieks, and wrenching screams and yells — sometimes layering the clean and harsh vocals in unusual duets. But it’s the richness of the instrumental performance that stands out even more.
Interwoven into these songs are moments of soft and wistful introspection, often accented by the pairing of vibrant acoustic guitar and Gallegos‘ somber singing. But in the songs’ ever-changing courses you’ll also encounter scintillating flurries of darting, sparkling, frenetic fretwork as well as passages that are fluid and piercingly soulful. There are beautiful solos within them that send the music skyward or layer the sound with a mystical resonance, and swirling tremolo’d melodies that become mesmerizing. Jolting, fantastically headbangable riffs make their appearance as well, along with prominent bass performances that often send the songs into moodier territory.
Speaking of solos, the one guest performer on the album — Obscura guitarist Rafael Trujillo — turns in a beauty on the wonderfully variable closing track “Celestial Noise”, a solo that flows seductively and then goes off like fireworks.
As the intensity (and density) of the guitar layers ebbs and flows, Samus Paulicelli pushes and pulls the cadences in harmony with what Gallegos is doing. It’s the kind of drum performance that stands out because it seems so well-attuned to what the songs need, never feeling the compulsion to hoard all the attention for itself, but still vital to what’s happening in the surrounding music.
As noted earlier, the moods of the music swing, and often do so dramatically. Feelings of melancholy, yearning, beleaguerment, and sheer anguish have their place here. But in the end, there is a persistent resilience in these kaleidoscopic sounds, an unabashed ebullience that always seems to rise again, and that electrifying joyfulness is highly contagious when you hear it.
The artwork featured in Beneath the Cosmic Silence was also created by Alex Gallegos and comes from images he shot when traveling across the U.S. exploring nature in his off time. The recording for the album was handled at home studios and at work studios between Alex and Samus respectively. Mixing and mastering for the release was handled by Grant McFarland and Carson Slovak at Atrium Audio in Lancaster, PA, both of whom are known for their work with such bands as Rivers of Nihil, August Burns Red, and Black Crown Initiuate.
The album is available for pre-order now.
1. Adorned in Red
2. In the Shadow of the Mountain pt. 1
3. In the Shadow of the Mountain pt. 2
4. Murmurs of Dissent
5. Visions of Gold
7. Scorned by the Snow
8. Celestial Noise *Rafael Trujillo – guest guitar solo (Obscura)