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Attan - End Of (Album Review)

Wednesday, 19 September 2018 Written by Alec Chillingworth

Attan released their debut EP, ‘From Nothing’, three years ago. There wasn’t a whole lot of fanfare, just positive rumblings and a few ‘ones to watch’ recommendations. Anyone who saw the band during that period got it, though. The Norwegians’ sludge-tinged, blackened hardcore was radicalised in the live arena as vocalist Remi Semshaug Langseth went walkabout during the cathartic seven minute epic Edward. He screamed in faces, slapped his heart onto his sleeve and then carved it open for all to see.

Their first full-length, ‘End of’, is everything we got on ‘From Nothing.’ But more. Attan fall into that camp of young bands simultaneously worshiping Gojira and Converge and, where an act like Conjurer punt more heavily for the former, they find themselves taking most of their cues from ‘You Fail Me’. They bludgeon forward through merciless, screeched hardcore that’s got no business coming from anyone’s first album.

It’s all just so raw, but that Gojira influence shines through occasionally, offering a sheen of class to what can only be described as a genuinely uncomfortable listening session.

Take the yelped chorus on SoMe Riefenstahl, delivered over a tapped melody: “We dance the night away.” That balance of elegance and sorrow. Puts the frighteners up you.

That eerie dissonance, the ‘blackened’ aspect, is all over ‘End of’. It creeps in with funereal grimness of the sort their fellow countrymen Mayhem trade in. Yes, that is a massive statement – holding Attan up next to the Norwegian black metal band. But these guitar tones, the terrifying tremolo-picked line that runs through On Hands and Knees, the undeniable coldness choking everything, make a strong case. This isn’t a black metal album, but it’s got the atmosphere of one.

Even on a more straight-up hardcore song like Black Liquid Marrow – the sole rehash from the EP – there are still twists, turns and trapdoors. Attan halt right before the chorus, holding on almost ceremoniously, before wading through a full-on sludge metal refrain. Bassist and backup bellower Fritz Pettersen drags his words out like he's yanked them from a swamp.

And despite the various tones, styles and tangents on the album, they all coagulate into the same shade of nightmare black. As the nine-minute title track lurches at you, Langseth’s gorgeous, half-tuneful wails in tandem with mournful guitars, you just have to submit. “We’ll never make the same mistakes again,” he intones. Shackled by the sheer weight, the clean section is almost like the shell of Rivers Cuomo at his absolute darkest: “Ocean rises, plastic blue. We will drown in me and you.”

And then we loop back to the riffs, the type Converge might’ve toyed with on ‘Axe To Fall’, for a crushing, desolate finale. End Of is not only Attan’s most expansive, varied song to date – it’s their best. If you like Converge, Mastodon, Conjurer, Employed To Serve and Black Breath, you’re on the right track here. And that list alone should be endorsement enough. Attan may be newcomers, and they might get even better as the years tick by. But right here, right now, this is fucking magic.





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