Review Summary: Jane Doe Jr.
A short sharp shock seems to be the chosen technique that Norway’s Attan has elected to apply in announcing their existence in the heavy metal scene. Armed only with one EP and a small handful of singles, Attan’s impending success will be put down to the monolithic debut album they have recently released, a punishing 34-minute collective of nine songs uncompromisingly designed to discomfort, intimidate and trample anyone and anything who unwisely decides to stands in its path.
Despite its album title sounding like a teenager who has concluded an argument that they just can’t even with, “End Of”
displays a level sincerity and maturity akin to the ringleaders of hardcore. Focussing on the album’s collective power rather than individual tracks, Attan increases the level of intensity sequentially throughout the album. The first four songs are all maniacal terrors under 3 minutes long, while the beefier following four songs gradually swell and threaten further, averaging between 3 and 5 minutes long. Ultimately, the album’s established tone and brutality lead to a fierce climax in the final song (and title track) which is a nine-minute behemoth tying together every emotion and atmosphere the preceding songs introduced in grand fashion.
In essence, “End Of”
could be seen as one extensive crescendo, however, in every decent crescendo, there are numerous movements that allow the music to expand and develop in order to yield those liberating expressions. Each of these movements is captured in each song “End Of”
unleashes. “The Burning Bush will not be Televised” explodes into action with an intrusive vocal presence supported by burly riffing and sets the stubborn in-your-face tone that never cowers. This terrifying example carries across in the aforementioned short songs where Attan introduces feelings of claustrophobia and mania through oppressive instrumentalism, but, it’s when these songs interrupt the breathless tempo with rhythm sections that steadily feed the album’s overall sonic force. “Feed the Primates” and “SoMe Riefenstahl”, feature dragging and spiralling guitar grooves that showcase how in control Attan are with their apparently overwhelming noise.
Additionally, Attan displays their prowess at incorporating a number of other genres into their debut, all of which complement their disgusting blackened hardcore which serves as a backbone for the band’s tone. Amongst the unprovoked attacks which sound like someone unrelentingly pummelling an already broken nose, post-metal seeps into “Black Liquid Marrow” as the band creates a thick, daunting midsection that would do Neurosis proud. Contrary to its characteristics, drone abruptly appears during “Catalyst Divine” where eerie melodies and buzzing bass in the background offer clarity to the dual vocalist’s raw lyrics.
Swift, unrelenting songs are a well-practiced system in hardcore while closing the album on a lengthy, cathartic release is also common so Attan hasn’t exactly deviated from the norm on their debut album, nevertheless, they have executed the tried-and-tested methods impeccably which is evident in the outstanding title track. A culmination of every note preceding it, “End Of” initially glides around imperviously before shrinking behind hallowed vocals that sound like an injured predator attempting to scrape itself off the bloody ground. Eventually, the album’s first moment of respite arrives with blissful clean singing and kaleidoscopic melodies, however, the song soars into a recurrent groove, encasing the cries of “we’ll never make the same mistake again” in their dark embrace. After so much torment and suffering, the sweet relief of catharsis finally arrives, commencing their imminent success and bringing Attan’s debut album to a monumental conclusion.