The Atlas Moth are one of those bands that there are times I really like and other times I wonder if I am out of my mind for listening to them. They are heavy and very much along the lines of Neurosis and even Cult of Luna, two bands that I love. I’ve distilled the “problem” I have to guitarist Stavros Giannopoulos’s shrieking. I love death vocals as much as anyone but Giannopoulos has an atonal scream that can get monotonous.
What complicates things for me is that guitarist David Kush handles the clean vocals so well. Together they sound great and even if they split the vocals, it’s quite good. The problem is that there are times that the screaming is overdone. Musically, “Coma Noir” is outstanding. The Atlas Moth know how to write a great riff and I love their use of synths to add texture to the music. BUT, as on the title track Giannopoulos screams like his hand is stuck in a car door. He can definitely scream his head off. Sometimes it’s a bit too much in the front of the mix maybe?
Things sound more balanced on “Galactic Brain” which works out so much better for me; it’s a great track. “The Streets of Bombay” has a solid vocal balance but even more atmosphere thanks to keys from Andrew Ragin. A great track for sure. The use of an effect on Giannopoulos’ voice on the first part “Smiling Knife” is a great idea because it makes the screaming later on the track have a greater impact. An excellent move by producer Sanford Parker, who really brings out the best in the band throughout the album.
At first, I wasn’t overly thrilled with “Coma Noir.” I am not convinced it’s a big enough leap from their last album “The Old Believer.” That album had more of a psychedelic feel to it while “Coma Noir” turns up the intensity even more. I do think that The Atlas Moth have a masterpiece in them based on the talent and musical output to this point. Unfortunately, “Coma Noir” is not that masterpiece.
1. Coma Noir
2. Last Transmission From The Late, Great Planet Earth
3. Galactic Brain
4. The Streets of Bombay
5. Actual Human Blood
6. Smiling Knife
7. Furious Gold
8. The Frozen Crown