Review: “Drowning Regret & Lungs Filled With Water” by Atena

Atena have broken through to become one of the most noteworthy Metalcore acts from Norway as well as proving there’s more than Black Metal in the Nordic lands. Taking inspiration from hip hop, classical composers and love for heavy music the band intertwine these elements together with lyrics of darker episodes that occur through life to create their sound. Previous albums in 2015’s “Shades Of Black Won’t Bring Her Back” and 2017’s “Possessed” have gained some critical acclaim with Metal Hammer Magazine writing that “Atena’s willingness to push boundaries needs to be applauded” while one of Norway’s biggest newspapers Dagbladet praised them for being “something semiexotic in the Norwegian Metal flora.”. Mixed and Master by Robin Leijon at Lionheart Recordings, the album is held up by the band as being the final part of a conceptual trilogy that has taken 5 years to develop…

The sound of a beating heart that is the album “Intro” is the calm before the storm of the heavy hitting “Burn Rotten” which brings stab after stab of heavy riffs inter spliced with synths and pummelling rhythms. The vocal range impresses with a mixture of unclean screeches and almost spoken cleans with a choral quality. The second reference to a babies and child birth comes with “No Hope For Miscarriage” which features Jesper Vincent from Ghost Iris. Those almost spoken clean vocals are take precedence in the chorus while musically the band build to a place that we thought Bring Me The Horizon would go after “Sempiternal”. That is blistering riffs with aching orchestral backing that give a sense of loss. “Let Them Hang In The Halls” sees the second guest appearance with Alex Terrible of Slaughter To Prevail stepping up the microphone and the first foray into a Hip Hop infused track is probably the least expected outcome. But what we get is Deathcore riffs with programmed drums, haunting synths and full on rap flow. A modernized take on what you might have expected in 1999, the sheer electricity of the riffs keep the whole thing alive and give the song a European Hardcore vibe with both vocalists delivering on the hip hop vocals with skills before the second verse of pure Deathcore smashes through it like a brick through your window.

Slap” returns to the the bands core sound, crossing over clean and unclean vocals with icy cold buried synths under the heavy hitting riffs. It wouldn’t surprise if in the future Atena developed into a Melodic Death Metal act or even went over to Heaven Shall Burn territory. “+47 3092” grabs the attention as a collection of old answer phone messages from a daughter to her mother who never returns her calls, the daughters love is unquestioning but sense of horror you get from the continual requests for a call back gives the impression of abandonment or death. It servers as a fitting introduction to single “Domestic Abuse” which sees the band joined by rapper Damien. Another hard hitting track with rap flow and bouncy Mosh pit friendly riffs it lights up the album and proves that they can pull off the style shift more than once and skillfully avoid sounding like a train wreck. “She Wept As I Told Her” takes an early career BMTH sound as it crashes through waves of emotions as it speaks of the end of a relationship and the reasons why it has come to and end in slick style.

Godforsaken” brings the forth and final guest appearance to Arena’s third studio album with Joel Holmqvist of Aviana adding some brutal unclean vocals to bring in some Deathcore breakdowns to a quintessential heavy Metalcore track littered with icy programming moments. The presence of some more technical guitar parts that are hidden in the weight of the sound nuances out over multiple listens and is an absolute pleasure. The classic Nu-Metal introspective laden lyrics bring home “Death Is All I Think About” with a cold inevitably about it. Breaking out of a melodic haunting passage with blast beats and some powerful programming brings the headbanging to the intensity of the sentiment and the lyrics remain in your head once the music has gone. The final moment is “Drowning Regret“, which brings the sounds of an attempt to drown ones self followed by the heart monitor and coughing signalling survival, which is the plot twist in the tale. Atena have taken 5 years to take us on an epic journey and its been worth the while. So where do they take us from here? [8/10]
Track listing
  1. Intro
  2. Burn Rotten
  3. No Hope For Miscarriage (ft. Jesper Vincent of Ghost Iris)
  4. Let Them Hang In The Halls (Alex Terrible of Slaughter To Prevail)
  5. Slap
  6. +47 3092
  7. Domestic Abuse (ft. Damien)
  8. She Wept As I Told Her
  9. Godforsaken (ft. Joel Holmqvist of Aviana)
  10. Death Is All I Think About
  11. Drowning Regret

Drowning Regret & Lungs Filled With Water” by Atena is out now and is available over at bandcamp

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