Single Review: Lycanthia / Atten Ash [split 7″]

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To hold us over until their new full-lengths arrive, doom duo Lycanthia and Atten Ash whetted our appetites with a brand new, split-7″ vinyl single earlier this week. Sydney’s Lycanthia tease us with a new track called “The Harbinger,” while North Carolina natives Atten Ash give us “City in the Sea.” The split makes perfect sense; each group adds its own unique touches, but both end up falling into a broad, melodic death-doom sound. And they both do it pretty well.

Lycanthia stays true to the concept of gothic doom, and introduces us to “The Harbinger” with an eerie organ lead, followed quickly by funeral-doom-inspired, slow paced guitar tones and extremely harsh vocals from Lee Tassaker. But they very quickly take things to another level with dueling, clean vocal leads from Vanessa Black and Megan Tassaker, as well as a grim, sorrow-enhancing violin part. It all just works brilliantly over the more traditional doom elements that form the foundations of this track. The song structure is absolutely perfect in how it uses these various elements to create a beautifully somber environment—from start to finish, they all feel cohesive. It’s a darkly textured, emotional ride that leaves you sitting in anticipation of what a new full-length might bring.

On “City in the Sea,” Chapel Hill’s Atten Ash may add a more conventional set of flourishes to the basic death-doom template, but they end up with no less compelling an end result. Recorded as part of the band’s self-released full-length, The Hourglass, back in 2012—now set for reissue on Hypnotic Dirge next month—this thing wraps you in its aura right from the get-go. It’s morose and crushingly heavy, yet also strangely natural-sounding. Plus, the melodic guitar lead that slithers in at about 1:30 might be the very definition of “earworm”—at least inasmuch as you’d apply it to this particular sound. Whether drawing you in with their heavier parts or their haunting, pace-changing clean passages, Atten Ash sounds completely and totally in their element. It’s a fantastic listen.

All in all, a great almost-13 minutes, and a job very well done from these two. We’ll be keeping our eyes on both going forward.

“Ein bier… bitte.”

– Corey


The Lycanthia / Atten Ash split is out now on Hypnotic Dirge Records. For more information on Lycanthia and/or Atten Ash, visit their Facebook pages.

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