Chuck Schuldiner Project

Friday, August 30, 2019

A//tar - Hallowed

Portland has long been a breeding scene for some of the best doom metal in the world. There must be something in the water! Adding to the already crowded scene is A//tar, a doom band who are able to elegantly fuse disparate sides of the genre into something articulate and exciting. Hallowed is a strong debut from the doomsters. This is a record that continually pushes the band to new levels, showing that though their execution may not quite be where it needs to be yet, they are pulling from a rich wellspring of ideas.

What differentiates the band is obvious even from the first track, 'Horology.' They deliver a unique brand of sludge, at times pointing towards the transcendent and at others feeling down right punky. The elegance with which they achieve this mix is what makes them special. There is a sense of dynamics here that few of their peers have. They aren't just trying to pummel you with riffs but they also are not trying to be the next Roadburn darlings. Instead Hallowed sees A//tar walking somewhere in the middle. Paying tribute to influences with a rich sound that embraces all sides of the genre.

Hallowed is an interesting listen. Though the vocals aren't quite where they need to be, and at times the production is lagging overall this is a strong initial statement. Sure some of the songs lag, but the overall quality of the music more than compensates for that and shows a clear direction forward for A//tar. These Portland doom freaks may not yet be at the top of the heap, but they have certainly laid a foundation that gives them the chance to rise a head and shoulders above many of their peers. It's on you to take the journey with them.

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