Holy shit, Downfall of Gaia have done it again. This is a band who can change the face of black metal, a band who take the beauty found in the music of groups like Deafheaven and Alcest and use that as a jumping off point for something far greater. The bands 2014 release Aeon Unveils The Thrones Of Decay was an absolute stunner and a major step forward for the band, especially with the addition of drummer Michael Kadnar. Atrophy sees another lineup change, this time with guitarist Marco Mazzola entering the fold. While this may not be as big a step forward as their previous release, Atrophy is still an absolute masterpiece.
It's hard for the modern black metal fan to not fall totally in love with Atrophy. This is a record that captures the beauty of the genres polemic but also pushes it far beyond. There is some incredible melodic content here, and of course the drums absolutely sparkle. The progressions here are the real highlight. There is a sense of forward motion and newfound dedication that you don't often find in this type of black metal. There is a very subtle sense of poetry here, sure Downfall Of Gaia is on the artsier side of the metal world, but the band manages to remain down to earth, creating music that rarely gets overtly pretentious but rather encourages full immersion.
Atrophy is an album that is easy to dive in to and hard to pull out of. It has a wonderful elegance to it that moves forward one beautiful step at a time. In many ways it feels like listening to a larger orchestral piece with every song representing a new movement. This is the sort of record that takes the entire genre up higher with it. It's an album that is full of delicious riffs and poignant progressions that will bring you to your knees and get you to raise your fist in the sky for what may be the future of black metal.
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