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Cosmic Naturalism: Atlas Entity Hone Existential Themes on “In the Shadow of the Mountain Pt. 1”

atlas entity

Rising from the same sweltering swamps in which death metal was first conjured, Tampa’s up-and-coming prog-death outfit Atlas Entity oozes with the eclectic essence and dark existentiality that defined the genre’s most arcane Floridian entities. The brainchild of multi-instrumentalist and composer Alex Gallegos, Atlas Entity formed in 2014 and quickly exploded onto the underground scene the following year with their debut Enceladus EP. A compelling work demonstrating a holistic and meticulous approach to melodic technical death metal, the otherworldly atmosphere of the Enceladus EP established the band as a thoroughly interstellar project focused on outer space-oriented themes.

In the four years since the EP release, however, Gallegos has been quietly and diligently honing his aesthetic approach to incorporate a much wider array of influences, bringing about a much more organic, humanistic atmosphere to his work. Atlas Entity is now set to release their debut full-length Beneath the Cosmic Silence, emulating a deeply human side to the group that was not previously explicit in their material. As they approach the album’s official release, Atlas Entity now unleash “In the Shadow of the Mountain Pt. 1″ (streaming below), a gripping demonstration of the marked evolution and expansion of their sound.

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The track begins in media res with the majestically forlorn tones of a virtuosic guitar solo gliding over a galloping riff in 6/8 time, which soon intertwines together with rasping screams and crisp, thunderous percussion. As these first passages alternate between harrowing vocals and melancholic guitar melodies, the headier black and doom metal influences that have taken up residence in this record’s texture are clearly apparent, with the track’s dirge-like ambience standing in stark contrast to the more cerebral content of the Enceladus EP. Halfway through the track, ferocious blast beats and tremolo guitars are dialed back significantly to make space for a tender acoustic passage complete with gorgeously heartfelt clean vocals. The doom sensibilities of Beneath the Cosmic Silence become abundantly apparent in these softer moments, especially as harsh vocals enter into the fray to harmonize with their melodic counterparts.

Ending in an entirely different setting than where it started, “In the Shadow of the Mountain, Pt. 1” represents a metaphor for the epic and dynamic journey on which this record takes the listener. With its album art sourced from photos taken by Gallegos on a road trip across the western United States, the ideological concepts of the album are presented with a unified naturalistic message, proclaiming the juxtaposition of severity and grandeur in nature. By radically magnifying their galactic scope to focus instead on earthly themes, Atlas Entity has introduced a personal element to their highly intellectual approach, sacrificing none of the Enceladus EP’s potency yet accomplishing a huge expansion of their sonic range.

Heading into the studio with the same team of musicians as their debut effort, Beneath the Cosmic Silence was recorded by Gallegos on guitar, bass, keys, and vocals, and decorated tech-death drummer Samus Paulicelli providing the record’s percussion (whose imposing repertoire includes tenure with Decrepit Birth, Arsis, Abigail Williams, and the high honor of drumming on Devin Townsend’s latest album Empath). Mixed and mastered by Grant McFarland and Carson Slovak at Lancaster PA’s Atrium Audio, the record showcases the gleaming, majestic timbre of Atlas Entity’s progressive melodeath infused with the same technical, futuristic flair given to Atrium Audio veterans such as Rivers of Nihil and Black Crown Initiate.

With an altogether inviting and well-rounded character, the track serves as an enthralling teaser that will keep listeners waiting with bated breath not only for the “In the Shadow of the Mountain Pt. 2,” but the full heft of Beneath the Cosmic Silence in its entirety.

Beneath the Cosmic Silence releases June 14th. Pre-orders available via Bandcamp.

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