Persefone
Aathma


4.0
excellent

Review

by Trevor Schneider USER (16 Reviews)
February 23rd, 2017 | 716 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Despite an uneven first half, Aathma is a worthy addition to Persefone's legendary catalog.

Persefone is the best band you’ve never heard of. Despite their general lack of widespread recognition, these guys from Andorra have been pumping out top-tier progressive death metal for over a decade, largely establishing their immunity from the genre's various pitfalls. From their 2006 cult classic Core to 2013’s Meshuggah-tinged Spritual Migration, Persefone has consistently expanded upon their sound while never sacrificing a modicum of quality or originality. And, though Aathma doesn’t quite match up to their very best, it nonetheless transports the band’s unique brand of death metal to unfamiliar sonic realms, taking a multitude of risks while never completely abandoning their signature style.

In the four years since Spiritual Migration, Persefone’s sound has dropped a good deal of its tech-death heaviness in favor of airy, spacey keyboards and ambient piano melodies. There’s a good deal of room to breathe in the mix, creating an atmosphere that’s far less busy than your average metal record. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still very much a death metal album, but it’s one that places a significant amount of emphasis on atmosphere. From the get-go, Aathma hits the listener with a pair of instrumental, piano-driven tracks before transitioning into “Prison Skin,” the first true song. “Prison Skin” proceeds to set the stage for the remainder of the record by delivering a lengthy, complex, and atmospheric progressive death metal performance. However, it also introduces Aathma’s only true flaw: a general lack of overarching coherence. It’s a good song without a doubt, but the failure of its numerous sections to truly transition into and synch with one another considerably hinders the final product. This is an issue that permeates throughout much of the record’s front half, as there’s a certain sense of unevenness that besets the transitions both between and within songs. This is by no means a deal-breaker because, unsurprisingly, the performances themselves are complex and engaging, but it’s nonetheless a disappointing aspect that ultimately prevents Aathma from reaching the heights of its predecessors.

While the six first tracks roughly follow the same pattern, “Living Waves” comes out of nowhere with an extended autotuned opening. Spanning the track’s first two minutes, it initially struck me as an outlandish way to ruin one of Aathma’s best tracks, a potentially interesting leap of faith gone terribly wrong. However, with subsequent listens, I’ve grown to appreciate this weird little chunk of the record and would even tag it as the moment where Aathma starts to truly gain momentum. Immediately following the intro’s conclusion, “Living Waves” explodes into a Spiritual Migration-esque death metal section before giving way to some of the record’s best songwriting and atmospheric implementation. This momentum carries Aathma all the way to its conclusion, with both “Stillness is Timeless” and the exceptional 4-part title track distinguishing themselves as some of the band’s best work to date. The title track in particular draws clear influence from Core, featuring the return of haunting, emotive female vocals. Spanning almost twenty minutes, it's a fitting conclusion that serves as a reminder of Persefone's silent supremacy within the death metal world.

The vocals and instrumental work throughout the album are top-notch, but it feels as though things don’t fully click from a songwriting standpoint until “Living Waves.” Still, even tracks like “No Face Mindless” that fail to maintain a consistent level of quality do manage to boast some truly fantastic moments, but it’s nonetheless a little disheartening that Persefone couldn’t quite stick the landing from start to finish. Judged by any standard beyond that of Persefone’s earlier material, though, Aathma is a triumph. It takes risks, and though a few don’t quite pan out as well as the band would’ve hoped, it’s nonetheless an engrossing, highly enjoyable slab of progressive death metal. I wouldn’t necessarily peg it as the place to start for Persefone newcomers, but for grizzled fans, Aathma won’t disappoint.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Ebola
February 23rd 2017


2338 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This officially drops tomorrow, though I've had the promo for a couple weeks now.

Album doesn't really come close to Spiritual Migration in my eyes, but I can respect it for what it is.



Originally published at https://thesonicsensory.com/2017/02/22/persefone-aathma/



c/c welcomed and appreciated

Toondude10
February 23rd 2017


10745 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

sounds cool, will check it when it drops

Digging: Persefone - Aathma

RockerToad
February 23rd 2017


99 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Great review although I believe you got to listen to the album more than once to let it grow on you. I believe it tops spiritual migration because of the persistant originality with the piano style. I'm in love with Aathma because most of the songs had that "Purity" style. Haha ;)

Ebola
February 23rd 2017


2338 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"I believe you got to listen to the album more than once"

I've listened to it at least a dozen times over the last few weeks.

RockerToad
February 23rd 2017


99 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Nice. I guess we have different tastes. This album is a classic 5 in my book as well as in many reviews I saw online bro.

Ebola
February 23rd 2017


2338 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I think Spiritual Migration and Core are 5s, but this one takes a little too long to get into a groove imo. Great record regardless

RockerToad
February 23rd 2017


99 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Yes indeed brother. Persefone are legendary. ;)

Asdfp277
February 23rd 2017


13460 Comments


new albom ??!???!?!?

Jacquibim
Staff Reviewer
February 23rd 2017


1435 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I die a little inside every time I read that title out loud.

Digging: Sunless - Urraca

Toondude10
February 23rd 2017


10745 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

seeing as how you didn't like their last album Jac, I'm assuming you'll like this a lot less.

Ebola
February 23rd 2017


2338 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I believe it's pronounced At-ma

Jacquibim
Staff Reviewer
February 23rd 2017


1435 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

@Toondude - Based on these descriptions, "dropped a good deal of its tech-death heaviness in favor of airy, spacey keyboards and ambient piano melodies", "failure of its numerous sections to truly transition into and synch with one another" and "“Living Waves” comes out of nowhere with an extended autotuned opening" you're probably right.

Toondude10
February 23rd 2017


10745 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

well then I'm expecting a 1.5 review from you ;-) assuming you are going to review this.



I'm checking out Spiritual Migration and I'm really digging it, but I can totally tell it's not your thing.

Asdfp277
February 23rd 2017


13460 Comments


i can't breathe i have aathma

Flugmorph
February 23rd 2017


14895 Comments


fucking jokester

Digging: Mastodon - Emperor of Sand

Jacquibim
Staff Reviewer
February 23rd 2017


1435 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Nah I'm not gonna review it, band sucks now so a negative write-up would just be a formality. FTR this review is pretty good. I think you spend a bit too much of it discussing what one particular track ("Prison Skin") does ~wrong~, especially when you sort of dismiss the entire first half of the album as suffering from the same drawbacks. Following this up with "even tracks like “No Face Mindless” that fail to maintain" yada yada almost feels like you're making excuses for it. Maybe this is just compounded from my point of view as I thought Spiritual Migration had the exact same flaws you describe. Pos tho :3

RockerToad
February 23rd 2017


99 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Jac you're pretty fucking biased. This album is legendary and obviously you go by opinion rather than logic! lmao! Your spiritual migration review was garbage too btw. Too bad the REAL reviewers rated these albums a 5. You just like to shit post on persefone because they changed their style for the best...

RockerToad
February 23rd 2017


99 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I can't take trolls seriously on this site that post shit reviews. X.x

Asdfp277
February 23rd 2017


13460 Comments


are u verm

RockerToad
February 23rd 2017


99 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

LMAO. A freaking brony and spongebob fan saying persefone sucks is completely laughable.



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