Gippsland is a region in southeastern Australia, extending from Melbourne’s eastern suburbs to the New South Wales border, and encompassing beaches, farmland, mountains and lakes. At its southernmost point is Wilsons Promontory National Park, with bushland, wildlife and beaches. It’s the home of Atlvs, a quartet who dropped their debut EP earlier this summer! You know when someone says something is great and you should check it out but then you don’t get the time? Then randomly you do check it out a little bit down the road and you think to yourself “Why didn’t I get to this sooner?” That would be this one. Ionei Heckenberg of Ocean Sleeper fame is effectively the bands sixth member, making a guest vocal appearance as well as recording the EP with the band and being their Manager. The remainder of the band consists of vocalist Jesse Buckingham, guitarist duo Steve Ljiljak and Nick Fitzgerald, sticksman Nick Clavarino and bassist/clean vocalist Matthew Borthwick.
Opening cut “Epiphany” has a Tech-Metal infused Gloom bounce and comes off like a DJent fuelled modernized take on Nu-Metal with a glorious balance between some melodic clean vocals and breaks and some unclean thunder. Later on in the track when the melodic guitar break serves to underpin the uncleans before building over a tapping section is when it is made. The aforementioned Ionei Heckenberg of Ocean Sleeper fame gets his hands dirty with “Insinuate” which circles around a DJent breakdown pile up of riffs while adding a rap scream to a highly charged emotional chorus. Again it’s a fine balance that is struck between the heavier and melodic elements so neither overpowers the other or gets lost in the mix. “Yvth” is an instrumental that brings all of the melodic ambient elements to the fore with a shoegazing quality that splits the EP clean in two. There are some experiments in the mix with programming and reversed drum loops for example that may be built upon in the future. The first time around it may appear unfinished but within a few listens it soon becomes a winner.
Bringing back the DJent groove “Love” comes across like a Void Of Vision track as it kicks in with the curb stomp of some stuccato riffage and perhaps a hardcore influence. The elongated pauses that are perhaps double what you might usually anticipate work incredibly well and allow for some impressive soaring clean vocals from bassist Matthew Borthwick. Changing gear dramatically with haunting synths buried in the background and a Gloom Metal riff bettered by none, “Mercury” comes out swinging with Jamie Mclees of Glaswegian wrecking ball Lotus Eater perfectly at home in the groove. The spoken word bridge between a pair of the most impressive unclean vocal verses lifts everything by giving it a break that isn’t melodic so none of the energy is lost. Repeating that same spoken word element in “Sick”, Atlvs bring back the melodic clean vocals to create a sound akin to Wage War that the Americans would be jealous of. A guitar solo isn’t exactly what one would expect on an EP like this but it adds a lift and brightness to those clean vocals that again elevates [8/10]