Shattered – New Atlantis

Album Rating: 3.5/5
Distributor/ Label: Unsigned.
Released: 2015

new atlantisBand Line-up:

Michael Bachmann – Vocals
Florian Wehner – Guitar
Johannes “Laudi” Laudenbach – Guitar / Backing Vocals
Julian Welsch – Bass Guitar
Jonas Pfeiffer – Drums

Tracklisting:

01 Bipolar Disorder
02 Ignite The Dawnshard
03 Into The Shattering
04 Despise The Living
05 Ancient
06 The Fall Of Hyperion
07 Trapped In Everlasting Dreams
08 The Grid
09 The Orbits Around
10 Into Archadia
11 As Atlas Reached The Stars
12 Nereids
13 From Distance Shores
14 Amnesia

Review:

Shattered’s 2015 effort placates an ‘easy listening’ technical death metal crowd, bringing stereotypical “tech-wank” to an Atlantic themed death onslaught. ‘New Atlantis’ brings everything death metal’s bloated side has to offer, blending outright intensity with melody and sheer technical ability. Sure, your typical blast beats and guttural roars are plenty throughout the length of the album but it’s how everything comes together that allows Shattered to make some headway in 2015.

Now let’s get this out of the way; technical death metal has some natural (and unfortunately, unavoidable) flaws. In order to make the leap from regular death metal to “technical” a band will need to add elements that help promote such a notion. Few bands actually ‘try’ to be technical in style, often it comes from the listeners and the labels who feel a need to slap a tag on a new band, but it’s never without reason. Often bands will need to reinforce the simple aesthetics of their sound with their own nuances, creating this trend of technicality which others will emulate as the genre grows. Flamboyant arpeggio sweeps, scale runs, squeals, timing changes and unconventional drum fills are all staples of the genre, building on the band’s personal nuances.

Shattered have pulled out all the stops to create an album that highlights their ability and also their own individual flair in songwriting while managing to avoid any saxophone cliches. ‘New Atlantis’ is a very listenable tech-death record. Every year is ‘big’ for music, but often for completely different reasons. So far, 2015 seems to be the year of the death metal record and as long as you’re not too “trve” you’ll find something to like in the forms of Alkaloid, Shattered and Theoktony (just to name three) which are all making a name for themselves this year. Despite a similar genre tagging, each has their own individualistic concepts and sounds that set them apart and prevent the listener from spinning the same album with a different title.

Generally, a concept about the lost city of Atlantis should always attract attention as a point of difference. Add to that a solid display of death metal riffage, tight drum passages and a production style that ultimately showcases how well-managed a project like this can be. The dynamics in growls shift from guttural roars, mid-screams and typical death metal shrieks. There’s even a slab of guest vocal work but I’ll let you work out where they come from. At times, “New Atlantis” is majestic, painting a sonic landscape over its length. What makes the album all the more impressive comes in the form of two words: Audible bass. Too often bands forget the very back bone of their music in the studio. The mix comes back soulless, shallow and without the reinforcement of the riff.  “New Atlantis” keeps all the important features and minimizes its flaws as best it can. Shattered’s ability to remember the bass guitar throughout the record helps ‘make’ this album. For all the melody and sheer technical ability, it allows Shattered to maintain some realism when played back.

Overall it’s no wonder that albums like this can be hit or miss but when everything works out, it works out for the better. Even as I sit in the middle in of a flood ravaged city, waiting for the water to recede I can still appreciate the complexity of a death metal record that placates a more forward thinking crowd. Shattered have made a solid effort in their 2015 release. “New Atlantis” may not be remembered as an instant classic but it’s certainly memorable for the year.

Review by Robert Garland

 

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