Black Magic

Written by: AP on 01/10/2011 10:31:29

It is difficult to fathom what in South America could possibly inspire black metal. Set against a backdrop of fertile rainforests, pressing heat and a lazy pace of life, a release like "Black Magic" by Colombian black metal crew Atanab is about as out-of-context as reggae in Norway. It deals in mysticism and satanism, and lays out a dark, primal soundscape with a touch of American black metal. That is, it relies largely on the employment of tremolo picking, with vocalist Darkbegoth providing shrieks that take some getting used to on top.

"Sons of Evil" in particular has a distinct Wolves in the Throne Room vibe to it, though it is far less subtle and exploratory than you would expect from the eco-metalers. In stark contrast with the American scene, the predominant approach on "Black Magic" is to deliver sharp, menacing blows, courtesy, perhaps, of the slightly over-produced rhythm section, at high intensity; as such, the Norwegian influence is also present. In this context the raw, unpolished production gives the music a distinct 90's feel, recalling some of the earliest proprietors of the genre in Darkthrone etcetera.

The problem with "Black Magic" is its refusal to resort to solid riffs. Songs like "Fury" and "Nightmares with Him" simply blast out their four-to-five minutes with relentless tremolo like it's the only picking technique known to man, leaving the listener with little by way of memorabilia. Clearly the bestial atmosphere is the main selling point of "Black Magic", while instrumentally it follows a fairly standard old school template, uniting the more extreme ends of thrash with traditional black metal.

I cannot claim to be an expert in black metal like our metal writer extraordinaire, Ellis Wooley, but having been lectured in some of the genre's greatest achievements by him on multiple occasions and agreeing with his opinions of what constitutes good black metal, I can safely say that Atanab, while not an abomination to the genre, will never belong among the elite, neither American nor Norwegian. On their home continent where I imagine black metal is in short supply the situation is probably different, and Atanab might even be considered pioneers given their 18 year history as a band. But weighed against their international counterparts, I can see few reasons to recommend "Black Magic", except to those who feel they must listen to and own every extreme metal release in existence.


Download: Sons of Evil, Black Magic
For the fans of: Darkthrone, Grima Morstua, Styggelse
Listen: Myspace

Release date 30.03.2011
Mighty Hordes Productions

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