Instrumentals, whether they be a song, or full band can work really well, or can be un-welcome to my ears. An instrumental song, when well placed on an album, most certainly can add to the experience, complimenting an album, and they can set things up nicely, moving into the next song. The Atomic Bitchwax excels at this dynamic. And I mean could anyone even mention Iron Maiden’s Killers and not instantly think of The Ides of March? Is there a better album intro? An argument for another time perhaps. On some albums, I’ve found instrumentals to be mis-placed, a potential momentum killer, or straight-up filler. As a full-band experience however, only Karma To Burn (RIP Will Mecum) has made a significant imprint on my sonic DNA. I listen to, and still follow, albeit from slightly afar, Pelican, but again K2B is the only all-instrumental band that I hold near and dear.
It’s with this experience I dove into Moving Through Silence the new record by Brugge, Belgium’s Atomic Vulture (excellent name, how has this not been taken yet?) I was unfamiliar with them going into this review; however, they’re a veteran band that has released several records. With a name like Atomic Vulture, and an all-instrumental attack, it’s got to be a worthwhile listen, right?
The answer is absolutely. Moving Through Silence slowly opens with some feedback/spacey sounds and sparse notes for the first almost minute-and-a-half, a nice slow-build before erupting to life, some stellar riffage is offered up from guitarist Pascal David as drummer Jens Van Hollebeke and bassist Kris Hoornaert hold down a strong groove. All three musicians get their chance to shine on the song, as Eclipse takes the listener on more than a few twists and turns. Hoornaert in particular offers up some a particularly strong bass line to anchor the second half of the song.
David opens Mashika Deathride with a monstrous riff. Heavy, weighty, catchy and dirty, its drive propels the song. In fact, David, offers up all sorts of guitar wizardry as he’s the one that really stood out on this track for me. Again, the band take the listener on a sonic journey, when at the midway point Hoornaert offers up another killer bassline, as the band drops into an entirely different mood to close out the song, with yet more killer riffage from David.
Coaxium is an early favorite of mine. Again, Hoornaert comes up with a great bass line to open the song, before David unloads with another killer, catchy riff. His tone, on this song in particular, is noteworthy, as is Van Hollebeke behind-the-beat drumming, that deftly propels the song. All three musicians really shine on this track. Once again, the band veers off into outer space at the midway point with an awesome, slower-jam breakdown, before David wallops the listener over the head with another riff, before circling back to the intro riff. Holy shit.
Moving Through Silence is an immense record, made by three musicians who excel at their particular craft…
Atomic Vulture completely change the mood with Cosmic Dance. It’s actually kind of jarring when the song takes shape, as David’s monster riffs, are replaced with a synth/keyboard, giving this an entirely different feel. The song conjures us a feeling of a late night, smoky dance club in Berlin. But lest we forget, the band comes back around with some riffage, weaving in-between the keys.
More cowbell please, as Van Hollebeke opens Intergalactic Takeoff with a healthy dose of it. This song moves at a brisk pace, propelling forward as it’s the shortest song on the album clocking in at just under three minutes, but it’s three minutes’ worth spent, as the band again, veer off into a slower, heavier riff to close proceedings out.
Spinning The Titans is nine minutes of twists, turns, riffs, and breakdowns. Building up, brining it down, creating quite the dynamic. As the song closes, the band are really affective at creating a mood, and a sense of space. Space Rat is almost as cool of a name as Atomic Vulture, and again offers a chance for Hoornaert to display his bass wizardry. David adds some affects to the riffage, and the song itself offers a slightly stranger vibe for me than the others, fitting of its name.
Moving Through Silence comes to its-drifting-through-space close with the massive twelve minute Astral Dream,. It most certainly feels like an ‘astral dream’ as the track slowly opens as all David, Hoornaert and Van Hollebeke steadily making their presence felt. Not surprisingly at this point, the song offers up an assortment of killer riffs, twists, turns, breakdowns, affects, and excellent rhythms. All three musicians really get their chance to shine, as the song makes great use of its twelve minutes.
There’s a ton to absorb on Moving Through Silence. It’s a weighty record, packed with as much instrumentation and affects as these three guys can muster. With no vocalist, the musicians themselves must do a good job of keeping the listeners attention, minus any sort of traditional ‘chorus’. Atomic Vulture really specialize in this. While it takes a bit to absorb, Moving Through Silence is an immense record, made by three musicians who excel at their particular craft. The riffs are great, as well as memorable, the rhythm section is amazing, as the band takes the listener on so many musical journey’s, it’s a worthwhile, and sonically pleasing trip to be sure.
Scribed by: Martin Williams