Written by Valkyrjiaa
Atavistia – Cosmic Warfare
> Melodic/symphonic death metal
> British Columbia, Canada
> Released April 21
> Blood Blast Distribution
Pulling in signature inspirational notes from bands like Wintersun, Ensiferum, Dimmu Borgir, and Xanthochroid, Canadian metal act Atavistia combine elements of melodic death, black, symphonic, and Scandinavian folk metal into a well-woven shield of musical relentlessness. Beginning as a small project in 2016, Atavistia emerged as a full-fledged band in 2018 with Mattias Sippola on vocals and guitar, Dalton Meaden on guitar, D’wayne Murray on bass, and Max Sepulveda on drums.
Sippola comments on the new album: “This album portrays many emotions which have transpired over the past two and a half years. There are dark moments full of pure chaos and anger to moments of triumph and tranquility. I am very proud of how the album flows together. ” Calling upon the majesty and radiance of their homeland, Atavistia portrays barren tundra, frozen forestry, and desolate landscapes, touched by seasonal change and ancient Norse culture throughout their musical creation.
“Omega Nova” dances in like terror in the night sky. It is veiled by wonder and an essence that far precedes its own yet it stands to hold our curiosity with trembling watchfulness. It’s grandiose in its formal greeting, allowing us to be fully immersed in mere moments as cosmic forces seem to devour our mind entirely. Velvet layers of atmospheric intrigue and rising melodic pressure paint a story all too real to ignore.
The blistering speed that drowns us in the title track “Cosmic Warfare” is astounding. It’s the freefall into madness, the bump in our throat as we see our rope cut loose. It’s in-your-face with unyielding drums and razor-like vocals that mesh to perfectly form a soundscape of nightmarish flashbacks and unshakeable dread. The amount of ruggedness and high-energy impact that traverses this track is second to none, giving us a full stage-like performance of extreme metal sound, cinematic production, and intricate melodies. An undeniable must listen on this six-track cosmic adventure.
“Ethereal Wanderer” floats in on specter-like symphony, like the twinkle of starlight just before it falls away. It feels very Dimmu in its roots, taking foothold in black metal with the ethereal sound and lingering guitars. Similar to “Hybrid Stigmata” at its core, this track easily ascends through the album, captivating with its mix of harsh and clean vocals and its haunting melody. It creates a hopeless paradise among a sea of dying stars, leaving us yearning for the rebirth and the new, but drags out like the future painted in a dim, yet ever-flickering light.
“Spectral Rebirth” is a lengthy experience, coming in on similar transmission waves as “Omega Nova” did but, bringing with it boss battle vibes. It’s cosmic horror: the titan emerging from the ocean floor, and the blackened sky as serenaded by an ethereal choir. Once more channeling the black metal vibes in its depths, this track is stacked with complexities in its composition. It’s in the “rising shadow” and the sharp pauses. The collective vocal harmony that brings the intensity that much higher, and the cinematic melodics that cap it all off. To say that this is an inspirational soundscape would be to deny the depths of creativity in its aura. The whispering symphony, the transformation from jagged and heated to cold and centered, all make this track an absolute experience. I can perfectly envision the surmounting terror as the final foe grows ever stronger no matter the attacks it endures. It’s our realization that we, too, must ascend beyond, to our “Spectral Rebirth” if we are to truly vanquish the challenge that stands between us and solace.
“Divine Destruction” only adds to the awe that this album has blessed upon us. From exploring the cosmos to traversing hellish dimensions, we’ve been guided through the universe and beyond. This tune is no different, bringing in the folk metal and fire to add yet another layer to this already heavily diversified listening experience. Blasting us with demonic screams and cascading instrumentals once more, this track feels like a Dark Souls homage that dabbles in the ancient and unknown. I adore the beautiful orchestration that haunts the backing melody while the aggression washes over us. It’s deep and dark, with waves of fire light and memory trickling down like rainfall. The mixture of speed with the hollow choir adds tension and absurdity to a tune already rich in chaos, making it all the more fantastical to witness.
The final track that takes us the stone steps of our journey’s end is “Forgotten Silence”. Serving as the longest track on the album at more than 11 minutes, this closure adds melodic tone to the finale. From the gasping breath to the wavering footsteps, we are taken to the very end – or perhaps, the beginning. As vibes of doom seem to chime in, we are once more caressed by a black metal riff, and a rising melodic tune with a folktale heart. It’s the fireside story; the legend that befalls us all as the sun turns from warmth to wasteland once again. The frigid night air that takes breath from your lungs and sets numbness into your bones; it veils the world once more in a silence of snow and ice. Every inch of this track is so carefully crafted in a way that each reactive blink is met with a new vision. You see the ravens take flight, you hear the prayers to the old gods, and the offerings are felt in your hands. Your eyes see the fire, and you feel the burn through your frozen fingertips. Weary bones settle on the memories of battle as every scar screams for its forgotten blood. It’s the silence – the one that befalls moments after a storm, or that settles in when a battle is done. It’s the never-ending reminders of what was done and undone, and what awaits when the silence breaks.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Wow. To explain this album in simple terms is unfathomable. Atavistia puts in so much dedication and detail that to summarize this album in its entirety would be an insult. It’s an expansive listening experience; from breathing oceans to touching sound waves, it’s a lingering yet untouched constant that lets your imagination run beyond the wild and unknown. It’s an album of velvet soundscapes and intricate dreams that are carefully woven throughout each song and is sure to leave you walking away with memories that far precede your own.