Review: Atmoran – Omen

On January the 23rd 2017, the Frisian band Sackback released their debut album Bloodlovers. Two years and two months later, in March of this year, Sackback announced that they grew and changed a lot as a band and that they would go on with a different name from that moment on. That name is Atmoran. Atmoran’s line-up didn’t change compared to their line-up as Sackback, be it vocalist/bass player Frank vd Ploeg, rhythm guitarist/backing vocalist Klaas Haaksma, lead guitarist Frank Homma and drummer Max vd Meij. Now Atmoran’s debut also is released. This debut is titled Omen and contains four tracks with a total length of 26 minutes.

The fact that Frank, Klaas, Frank and Max grew and changed as a band quickly becomes clear when comparing Atmoran’s Omen with Sackback’s Bloodlovers. On Bloodlovers Sackback sure did show some nice music, but when listening to that album it also becomes clear that Sackback was still a bit searching for their sound. That brought quite some variation, but that also made it sound a bit incoherent. That clearly is different on Atmoran’s Omen. Omen still contains quite some variation, but on a more detailed level. The main sound on Omen is much more constant and because of that Omen sounds much more as one whole.

That main sound is pretty grooving, especially due to the groovy pummeling drums, sometimes accompanied by a very nicely humming bass, such as in Dignity’s Veil. Of course there also is an important role in this sound for the guitars, that regularly bring tight riffs, such as in Bleak Harvest, but at some other moments those guitars are sounding more melodic, for example the twin-guitars in that same song. In addition to that there are also some nice solos to be heard, such as we can hear in the a bit avant-garde, proggy part around 4:40 into Dignity’s Veil and in Insomnia. This album doesn’t only contain the electric version of the guitar though, but sometimes we’ll also hear an acoustic one, for example during the ambienty start of Dignity’s Veil and the proggy part halfway into Bleak Harvest, which also contains some quite jazzy drums, a howling electric guitar and a piano.

Vocally Frank mainly delivers bellowing vocals, with at some moments some more aggressive sounding intense shouts, such as in Dignity’s Veil and Insomnia. In Insomnia these shouts are sounding better than they do in Dignity’s Veil. Unfortunately Frank’s vocals are a bit too much into the background for the main part of this album, which regularly makes them sound a bit buried under the instrumentation. This probably also has something to do with the level of the main production, which in my opinion could be a bit better. Of course that’s the case with the vocals, but at some other moments Omen also sounds a bit tinny and flat, unfortunately. That’s a shame, because the music Atmoran shows on Omen surely sounds nice, but due to this the power that is inside it isn’t coming out that well.  

With Omen, Atmoran took some big steps compared to Sackback’s Bloodlovers for sure and while Omen does sounds nice, the production of it could be better. Maybe that’s the next step for Atmoran to make.

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