Allelic
The Smoke of Atavistic Fires


5.0
classic

Review

by SowingSeason STAFF
September 26th, 2018 | 86 replies


Release Date: 2018 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The best metal (and folk) album of the year.

Allelic – a term referring to gene variants within the same chromosome that are responsible for different traits – could not be a more appropriate name for this Montreal-based solo project. Referred to only as the “Principal Investigator” on the artist’s official bandcamp website, the man effortlessly produces some of the most harrowing, hellish black metal you’ll hear only to turn around minutes later espousing lush, flourishing indie-folk from the Garden of Eden. It’s impressive to witness two opposite worlds of music overlap in such stunning harmony; a seamless welding. The Smoke of Atavistic Fires is the full-length debut album of this project, and it is the already the best metal (and folk) album of the year.

The term genre-bending gets thrown around far too often, but here the praise is befitting. ‘In Blissful Ignorance’ kicks off this five-track, roughly forty minute expedition, and it’s the most obvious display of Allelic’s multifaceted arsenal. Washing in on the sound of a gentle current, the ten minute epic begins in serene fashion: steel string plucks, solemn humming, and a harmonica. As the song progresses, heavier drums and electric riffs roll in, along with the far away growls of the lead vocalist. By the middle of the song they’re no longer distant, hovering over you like an imminent darkness that comes crashing down – all while majestic guitar riffs knife through the atmosphere like bolts of lightning. Suddenly, after a ten second transition that somehow manages to be totally organic, the sky clears and rays of sunshine poke through again: wave-like acoustic chords are overlaid with gorgeous picking, and it’s like we’re transported back to a summer meadow with sunflowers blooming and dandelion seeds floating through the air. The track weaves back into black metal territory one more time before fading to a jig-like amalgamation of harmonicas, strings, booming baritone, and melodic electric guitars. Such is the nature of The Smoke of Atavistic Fires, an album that somehow captures the extreme realms of folk, metal, and everything in between.

One surprising aspect of this record is just how accessible it sounds. Most stylistic fusions are not achieved so gracefully, but The Smoke of Atavistic Fires sounds poised and decisive at all times. The production is immaculate across the board, allowing every note to shimmer without sacrificing the raw earthiness that is so vital to its existence. The result is a set of songs that breathe comfortably within their own spaces, but also function cohesively as a whole. It allows for the heaviest moments – such as the unhinged drumming and growling presented on ‘Within a Decaying Vessel’ – to coincide fluently with the crackling hearth and airy atmosphere that commences its immediate follow-up, ‘As Stars Shimmer Upon The Ritual.’ Even as that track begins with romantic and intimate imagery, it still has the wherewithal to gradually gather steam and coalesce into a monstrous sounding crescendo of ghoulish screams and complex riffing. There isn’t a song here that feels limited in its scope.

The most succinct representation offered is most likely ‘The Transformation’, a microcosm of the simultaneous beauty and intensity that runs rampant across The Smoke of Atavistic Fires’s vast soundscape. In just over five minutes, we’re rocked with some of the heaviest drumming on the album, the vocalist’s death growls, some upbeat acoustic picking/strumming, eerie strings, and forsaken cathedral chants. It would make for an excellent and digestible single, if ever there was one, to represent this project’s solo outing. The entire experience gently fades out to pristine acoustic guitars and the familiar sound of songbirds on ‘Elusive Prayers For An Absent God’, which ultimately serves as something closer to an extended outro than a standalone pillar. Still, it’s a reminder of the refined charm that lurks beneath this album’s often menacing surface, poking its head out just often enough to remind us that peace and hope exist.

The Smoke of Atavistic Fires is a sweeping, monumental success. The duality of its makeup is alluring, but it’s the impeccable songwriting quality and complexity that keeps the journey consistently anchored in excellence. The near flawless production also affords the experience a gleam that few underground bands can revel in. This project’s debut can be enjoyed in solitude, overlooking a breathtaking geographical landscape – or in a thunderstorm, watching the world take a beating from forces too majestic and powerful to comprehend. No matter what, it feels like a score written for that precise moment. It’s one man, who has meticulously captured the collision of two equally captivating worlds: an Allelic classic for sure.




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user ratings (30)
Chart.
3.7
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
SowingSeason
Moderator
September 26th 2018


28386 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Album drops 10/12. Please direct additional praise here:

https://www.sputnikmusic.com/user/lalchimiste



Support the project here:

https://allelic.bandcamp.com/



And yes, it is actually that good.

Digging: John Nolan - Abendigo

Lucman
September 26th 2018


1286 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Awesome review, Sowing. Pumped to hear it when it releases.

Digging: Modest Mouse - The Lonesome Crowded West

Dewinged
September 26th 2018


12159 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Wait, wasn't this from a sput homie? And released months ago? Or is it a follow up to that?

Digging: Azusa - Heavy Yoke

Atari
Staff Reviewer
September 26th 2018


23859 Comments


dude awesome. didn't know a knew one was already around the corner. this should be perfect for the fall

Digging: Pistol Annies - Interstate Gospel

lalchimiste
September 26th 2018


957 Comments


Completely floored by this magnificently written review! You really captured the essence of what I was trying to achieve musically and thematically with this LP. I am speechless right now and all I can do is thank you.

I also want to thank The Green Man Label for their help and support in the creation this album.

Digging: Unleashed - The Hunt For White Christ

SowingSeason
Moderator
September 26th 2018


28386 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Added an embedded track for those interested. It's from the previously released EP, but it is also the lead track on this album.

Dewinged
September 26th 2018


12159 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I guess my questions are answered, will peep.

luci
September 26th 2018


10128 Comments


looking forward to this

Dewinged
September 26th 2018


12159 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Lucid, I think you dropped your "d" somewhere...

Gyromania
September 27th 2018


25921 Comments


Oh shit! I didn't know there was a full album coming out so soon after the EP. In that thread I remember saying "Idk if I'd like an entire album of this, but as an EP it works perfectly." Gave it a 5 tho so I should prob check this ASAP.

DungeonBoy
September 27th 2018


4917 Comments


Great review man!

Digging: Vouna - Vouna

TheSpirit
Contributing Reviewer
September 27th 2018


24372 Comments


best metal album of the year, hunh? i usually don't like black metal and folk mixed but i will check this ... tight review

Digging: Deceased - Ghostly White

bnelso55
September 27th 2018


1320 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Great review! I've really liked everything I've heard so far. Looking forward to hearing the rest.

JS19
September 27th 2018


6929 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Dude is putting everyone to shame

Digging: Rafael Anton Irisarri - A Fragile Geography

Elynna
September 27th 2018


282 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Loved the EP, very much looking forward to this one

Digging: Diabolical Masquerade - Nightwork

SowingSeason
Moderator
September 27th 2018


28386 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I'm admittedly not the biggest fan of metal, but when it's this well executed it's hard not to take notice. The entire LP is on par with the quality of the EP, so those who enjoyed that will not be disappointed in the slightest.

neekafat
September 30th 2018


13004 Comments


woah

Asdfp277
September 30th 2018


19183 Comments


indie bm, part 2

swag

ZombieToyDuck
October 4th 2018


6237 Comments


that opening track is massive so far Sowing... damnnn

ZombieToyDuck
October 8th 2018


6237 Comments


sweetttt gunna give that a go right now



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