Atomic Cries are self-confessed exclusive purveyors of Primitive Doom Metal. This description leads to mental imagery of a pair of fantastically hirsute, low-browed ape-like creatures, clad in the skins of Sabertooth Tigers ululating wildly whilst smashing rocks together very slowly, which, as it turns out isn’t actually too far from the truth………………… I jest, of course.
The not-so dynamic duo behind Atomic Cries are, in fact, our very own ape-descendant Saúl Do Caixão on guitars and ululations…I mean ‘vocals’, and Andy Lippoldt, of Persistence In Mourning infamy, on, well, everything else – bass, drums, organ, background ululations and, hell, he even released this beast into the wild via his Witch Sermon label.
So, now you know a little about the nature and species of the ruminants behind Atomic Cries, I suppose it behooves me to attempt a description of the monstrous dirge wrought by the pair of degenerate miscreants in question. Well, ‘Primitive Doom Metal’ is as fitting a label as can be, as it happens. Massive, cyclopean guitar riffs, hewn roughly as though from from antediluvian basalt, fill the musical foreground, cavernous and smothered in a murky fuzz so thick and chewy that you could easily sink your teeth into it and tear off a bloody, writhing, chunk. Beyond this imposing wall sit rudimentary drums, buried under the sonic murk, distant organ, bass more sensed than heard and Do Caixão’s hollow, droning baritone voice, a voice that sits halfway between Lee Dorrian’s mournful croon circa ‘Forest Of Equilibrium’ and Peter Murphy’s gothic archetype.
Opening proceedings with ‘Like Sheep To Slaughter’ Atomic Cries set out their stall from the off – their sound congeals into a buzzing, humming hypno-drone of lumbering descending guitar notes, distant splashing cymbals, minimalist beats, occasional bursts of sinister crystalline guitar and layers of that insinuating morbid croon.
Continuing on into ‘Jealous Hands’, the rhythm switches to a doomed lurch, as though the duo are dragging a classic Sabbathian riff through a mire of thick molasses, alternating with a leaden chug overlaid with reverb-n-delay-drenched spidering and shrieking lead guitar. Do Caixão swaps his baritone out for sinister whisperings, as the track slowly winds down at one point, to creepy effect. In the fade, Lippoldt’s organ can be heard buzzing away as though from deep under the earth.
The remaining half of For Those Who Came Before Us sees Lippoldt’s bass come more to the fore, on the almost-swung groove of ‘Point Blank’ – a track that sees the duo playing with dynamics, as the instruments rise and fall within the mix, assuming prominence for some sections and then receding again to be superseded by another sound entirely, whilst Do Caixão also shows us he’s not afraid to lose the shroud of fuzz when necessary – and in the coup de grâce, ‘The Parasite’, Atomic Cries give us a track that is steeped in the same sense of majesty and morbidity as Cathedral’s mighty ‘Serpent Eve’, albeit one swathed in a thick cloud of haze.
What Atomic Cries manage to have conjured up here is a rare bird indeed – something that sounds and feels wholly original. Sure there are reference points, but that is all they are, simply vague touchstones that we use in order to attempt to frame their sound within a familiar context. The duo sound about as much like Cathedral in reality as, say, Saint Vitus sound like Black Sabbath. It is a mood that is captured, an atmosphere, rather than a ‘sound’. The union of Lippoldt and Do Caixão clearly is rich in creative synergy, steeped as they are in raw doom, and having played the hell out of ‘Those Who Came Before Us’ I can safely say that not only do I hope it continues to bear fruit but that I’ll be first in the queue waiting for that ripe but rotten fruit to fall.
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Scribed by: Paul Robertson