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An Ache for the Distance

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Album Review

Evolving their sound from the blues-touched doom of their debut into a swirling, psychedelic miasma, the Atlas Moth take a maximalist approach to atmospheric metal on their sophomore album, An Ache for the Distance. Reaching into every corner of the musical world for inspiration, the album feels as if it's sitting at some kind of sonic crossroad, acting as the focal point where the endless nomenclature of the heavy metal world crosses paths with spacy art rock and blues. But just as throwing a bunch of random garbage from your kitchen into a pot doesn't necessarily make for a good meal, the same goes for music, and when you start mixing a lot of extremes together, the chances of a harmonic maelstrom become more and more likely. What makes the Atlas Moth so successful isn't their ability to draw an all-encompassing pool of influences into their sound, but their ability to get those elements to coalesce into something greater than the sum if its parts, and that's exactly what the band has done on An Ache for the Distance. From the very opening moments of "Coffin Varnish," the album immediately surges forth into a frenzied dirge that takes full advantage of the band's three-guitar attack. Surprisingly, this momentum is maintained throughout the album, giving it an incredible amount of movement for something so atmospheric. As the album progresses, tracks like "Holes in the Desert" and "25s & the Royal Blues" make the Atlas Moth feel like Pecos Bill, lassoing a tornado of guitar and keyboards into an expansive, intense sound that manages to surround listeners without smothering them. With a real combination of thoughtful craftsmanship and genuine movement, An Ache for the Distance is an album that doesn't just instantly engage the listener, but also stands up to repeated visits, making for one of the more intense and rewarding post-metal albums to emerge out of the post-Isis landscape.


Formed: Gotham, Illinois

Genre: Metal

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Fusing blues, doom, and psychedelic rock, the Atlas Moth look to their hometown of Chicago, Illinois for inspiration in their post-metal experiments. With layers of rumbling guitars and synthesizers, the band takes a more textural approach to metal, creating a maelstrom of heavy riffs and swirling atmospherics that evokes Isis and Pink Floyd in equal measure. The band made its full-length debut on Candlelight in 2009 with...
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An Ache for the Distance, The Atlas Moth
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