Atlas Losing Grip


Written by: PP on 12/01/2015 00:47:35

About three years ago Atlas Losing Grip released "State Of Unrest", an excellent technical skate punk release that received critical acclaim across the punk world for its depth-laden, melodic-hardcore rooted expression that nonetheless kept melody at the heart of its expression. It marked the return to activity of Rodrigo Alfaro, the renowned Satanic Surfers vocalist whose style had been sorely missed, and what a return it was. Through songs like "Unrest", "Numb" and "Closer To The End", his ability to match high pitch singing with flawless harmony and great lyricism was the key reason why "State Of Unrest" was received so well by the punk rock community. Fast-forward three years and here we are with "Currents", their sophomore album and one that turned out to be the last one by Rodrigo Alfaro behind the pipes, as he parted ways with the band in December.

Without going so far as to call it a sophomore slump, "Currents" does not quite measure up to its predecessor. Where "State Of Unrest" excelled was in its constant barrage of infectiously catchy melodies packaged around technical, interesting riffage. Here, the vocal melodies have taken a step back on most songs with only "Cynosure", "Nemesis" and "Downwind" recalling the wow factor that many of the aforementioned songs did on their debut. That leaves us with an expression that's perhaps even more advanced technically, even progressive in places, which poses a challenge for the listener when the key entryway to the songs has been made less accessible. Sure, songs like "Shallow" and the all-acoustic "Closure" are decent, but one thing that struck the listener on "State Of Unrest" was the overwhelming consistency of the material. There was rarely a moment where you didn't go "Oh my, that part is so well written it's amazing". These moments are less frequent on "Currents" overall.

The album spans over an hour across 14 songs, which is way too long for this type of a record. The expression is uniform throughout, so about 40 minutes in, you're rehashing the same melodies over and over again. Leaving the record at 10 songs would've done wonders for its staying power. Now, "Currents" overstays its welcome somewhat.

That being said, "Currents" is still a solid album dominated by mostly strong content. The soundscape still revolves around a melodic hardcore-rooted expression, meaning there are constant references to bands like Authority Zero, Mute and even technical skate punk behemoths Belvedere in places. "Downwind", one of the highlight tracks I mentioned earlier, features a lead melody that could've been on a modern Rise Against record. "Nemesis", as mentioned earlier, is Atlas Losing Grip at their very best: killer riffs, super-catchy chorus melodies, and a sense of urgency and conviction that's at the heart of their energetic expression. It's a shame the whole album doesn't uphold this level of magnificence, for in that case we would've been discussing a possible placement at various punk oriented end-of-year lists in 2015.

Download: Cynosure, Nemesis, Downwind, Shallow
For the fans of: Authority Zero, Rise Against, Mute, Belvedere
Listen: Facebook

Release date 16.01.2015
Cargo Records

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