Thorn Genesis by Atemporal

Release date: April 7, 2023
Label: I, Voidhanger Records

Atemporal is the debut release by Sebastian Montesi. I’m unfamiliar with his other bands he’s been associated with (Auroch, Mitochondrion and Egregore) but perhaps that’s a good thing, as I’m not comparing this to anything he’s done before.

This is a one man project, and clearly he’s a talented guy doing everything. Vocally, I would liken this to Immolation’s Ross Dolan; but musically this is predominantly black metal, with a few death metal nods. It has blast sections, atmospheric moments, all the sorts of things you want and expect. There are choppy changes in rhythm and tempo that remind of Nile at their most ferocious. Some of the guitar parts could be a little alienating, if you’re unfamiliar with that style; but if you’ve heard that discordant kind of sound that Blut Aus Nord have done on Disharmonium recently, you should be fine.

Overall, I do quite like this release, but……. the programmed drums are a bit of an issue for my ears. It simply doesn’t sound realistic, and the cymbal sounds come across as ‘cheap’ for want of a better word. If this was translated into the live environment, I reckon he would struggle to find a drummer that could play what he had programmed in. It sounds impressive to hear, but I keep thinking what if he had a live drummer working with him? It might have added an extra dimension and fleshed some of the songs out a bit.

Back to the actual album, we get six songs here. The middle four are around the three to four minute mark, book-ended by a seven minute opener, and whopping sixteen minute closer. There are so many time and tempo changes thrown in here, it can seem a little chaotic, but when he locks into a mid paced riff or rhythm it really comes alive, and you just end up in a serious head nod and it’s hard not to be impressed.

That said, those middle album songs just aren’t long enough. You get that locked rhythm, and it seems to end abruptly before I’m ready to let go. As well as all of this, he can even solo pretty well, and they flow along with the song structures.

The long songs let those riffs get developed though, and you are taken on a journey through the landscapes, and there’s even some astral background vocals to take you beyond the abysmal depths. Album closer ‘Backward Down the Thorny Path’ doesn’t feel like quarter of an hour has passed, and I think songs like this show the potential of what could be even better for the next release.

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