Friday, August 31, 2012

Atrium Animae: Atmospheric Neoclassical Darkwave

Atrium Animae is a newer, still little-known band from Italy, which according to the pagan music review blog 'Vampires & Mortals', represents a sub-genre called "Atmospheric Neoclassical Darkwave." Now I know that a lot of black, pagan, Celtic, Viking, Gothic, folk, etc. metal is rough. However, this band captures something different. It is dark in the sense of a dark-clouded rainy winter day. It's not exactly Gothic, although some of the Gothic music I find very interesting. It seems to combine, to me, the heroic Germanic/Odinic ethic with a dark-themed "Gaulish" vent---to coin a term---within a more-or-less classical-style. Apparently, some of the songs have a Catholic origin. Just for the record, there's a big, big difference between symbolism which is dark in nature (the night, somber, foreboding, winter, rain, etc.), and something dark-hearted. Now, some types of metal, black metal, Satanic metal, do indeed go down this path; however it's important to make this distinction.

Atrium Animae made a splash within pagan music with their album 'Dies Arae', and especially the song 'Angelum Abyssi', which I could not find posted anywhere online. I heard it on Their offical website is; and they have a MySpace page in which you can listen to some of their music. They have a facebook page, which has many links to online reviews which reflect that they did make quite a hit with last years release; and was considered one of the years best in it's genre. Their facebook page defines the genre as "Neoclassical, Darkwave, Ethereal, Classical, Gothic, Ritual" and as "Symphonic, Neoclassical, Ethereal, Heavenly Voices with strong influences from classical and spiritual music." Projekt Darkwave is the record label of the band. I'm new to pagan music, so a lot of this is new to me. I wanted to also add a link to their song 'Rex Gloriae'. I find myself asking myself, is this music that good, or am I merely being smitten by something new? I think, for me, mostly the former. It's just like anything else, if you like something, and want to see more of it, you vote with your pocketbook.

From the pagan website 'The Wild Hunt':

The Italian band Atrium Animae was formed in 2007, their name is “considered as a symbolic representation of the passage from physical world toward an immaterial world.” The heavenly soprano of Alessia Cicala, a member of the band Chirleison, partnered with the compositions of Massimiliano Picconi, together create music on their debut “Dies Irae” that is stately in its atmosphere, a sacred enveloping that is almost funerial in outlook. Or as the band’s promotional material puts it: “A symbolic voyage in a silent wasteland made of treachery, defeat and spiritual hunger. A world where the locked embrace of loss and despair are represented through a reinterpretation of passages taken from religious and pagan texts.”

There are so many review sites, which is a good thing, but I can't put it all here; but I would like to put one from 'The Morton Report'.

Newly Released Album, Dies Irae, From Atrium Animae

With Dead Can Dance-like etherealism...
June 15, 2011
By Matt Rowe, Columnist

If you remember the gorgeous, brave, old world and another culture musical compositions of Dead Can Dance, then you remember how fixated you were on the combined talents of Brendan Perry and otherworldly vocalist Lisa Gerrard. Understood. Together, they crafted some of the most intriguing songs ever to be adopted by a hungry audience of music lovers, the largest ever for the kind of music Dead Can Dance produced.

Funereal and gothically-tinged, Dead Can Dance opened the pipe for tolerance of a new kind of music. Because they willingly approached music from a cultural standpoint, recreating until they found a common ground between the new music fan and those that are inured to the kind of underlying musical qualities found in classical works, they found a steadfast audience. In turn, they set the path for other bands.

Atrium Animae is an Italian duo, formed to express the kind of music that early-era Dead Can Dance embraced. The male component of Atrium Animae, Massimmiliano Picconi, is the keyboardist and master of the programming aspects supplied to the album. The stunning, layered female vocal work is the work of Alessia Cicala. Alessia Cicala was vocally trained in Conservatoire, and brings her haunting operatic soprano to the newly released 'Dies Irae' (June 14 via Projekt Records).

'Dies Irae' contains seven tracks of intensity, musically characterized by ancient Catholic religious rites often heard in films depicting such rites. The music explores authenticity in every corner of its dark and apocalyptic airs of foreboding wrath. The lyrics, drawn from antiquity, add an otherworldly quality. There is little to compare the grand content of 'Dies Irae' to other than the potential comparison of 'Within The Realm Of A Dying Sun' (1987) from Dead Can Dance, as well as choice selections of other tunes from various early DCD albums. Suffice it to say that 'Dies Irae' is a meticulous exercise in a world completely unlike our present one.

The music heard on 'Dies Irae' is not for everyone. It might not even be for you. But if you listened admiringly to anything by the greatly missed Dead Can Dance, then you'll find something to appreciate here in this bold, new album by a band that insists on being who they are. The goal here is to put up a new signpost leading to a new discovery for you. Hopefully, you'll be intrigued.


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