Atlas Dying is a project that attempts to meld Swedish melodic death metal and American brutal hardcore. This may sound like the typical metalcore band that is so prolific now. But, Atlas Dying draws their influences from so many different sources and pours so much of their hearts into the music, that the end result is profoundly moving. Atlas Dying formed in the summer of 2002 through the meeting of guitarist Rick Hardy and drummer Michael Vandergroef. The two soon added bassist Brian Gartner to the mix and began writing songs that would culminate in their debut album Images Inward. Images Inward is an emotional journey through the hardships that both Rick and Mike have endured at the hands of their respective parents. Released in the spring of 2004 on Verified Records, Images Inward was produced by Dave Sands, with artwork by Intwined Productions. The original vision of Atlas Dying came from songwriter Rick Hardy. But, as Atlas Dying has progressed, and with the addition of classically trained bass player Jason York, more influences are surfacing. The various tempo changes and intricate time signature variations are reminiscent of The Mars Volta and Dark Tranquility. The abstract lyrics with tangible emotional meaning are comparable to At The Drive In or At The Gates. Michael draws his drumming influence from Jordan Mancino of As I Lay Dying and Gavin Harte of Callinish Cirlce. Rick's guitar tone is loosely derived from Bjorn Gellotte of In Flames combined with Glenn Ljungström of Dimension Zero. Jason's duality of lead and rhythm bass are influenced by Cliff Burton R.I.P of Metallica and Steve Harris of Iron Maiden. Finally, Rick's vocal approach comes from Anders Friden of In Flames and Tomas Lyndstrum of At The Gates. Today Atlas Dying is hard at work writing a second album, A Wanted Awakening. This new album shows to be more intricate and interesting, than Images Inward, but with the same emotional intensity. Atlas Dying has had some setbacks in the past two years, but they are attacking the metal scene with renewed vigor. The following is a review from Metalreview.com. Florida's Atlas Dying at a glance could easily be lumped into the metalcore category, but that would be a little unfair but they are actually far more steeped in the Gothenburg death metal scene rather than a passing nod or riff. Slightly chunkier than your average Gothenburg band (hence the metalcore tag), but with a distinctly more European musical base, Atlas Dying are a pretty damn competent three piece that should appeal to fans of Arch Enemy, Fear My Thoughts and especially the US's own Trivium and The Fifth Sun as well as most open minded metalcore fans who aren't just clamoring for breakdowns and sprinkling of piecemeal harmony. Atlas Dying's surprisingly developed song writing is what sets them apart and belies their relative newness to the scene. The band seems to have found the perfect balance between churning US deathcore and intelligent Swedish melodic death metal, without being too obvious about either influence as they meld them seamlessly. Opener 'From Dead Eyes' is a controlled but effective opener with a chuggy thrash pace and some well-placed but not overdone melodies that don't drip with over exited In Flames abandon, but brood in a darker place. 'Mechanizm' is a pure mid paced, burly yet technical thrasher that rumbles with a more American aesthetic but the title track picks up the pace somewhat, but is still careful not to step too far into either In Flames noodling or American chest beating. It's somber segues at 1:21 and 4:12 introduce some brief clean vocals and a deft grasp of the slower, more draining side of melodic death metal. The instrumental 'Prizm' is a mid album display of introspective yet skilled melodic prowess gleaned from the early instrumentals of In Flames and Dark Tranquillity, but seems to squeal a little too much needlessly for my liking. Indisputable standout track 'There It Waits' opens with a classic mid paced melodic salvo, before unleashing a pretty much jaw dropping riff/solo combo that vocalist Rick Hardy embraces with a hearty growl - the end result is pretty f***ing astounding for a newcomer. 'Injection Mercury' is the album's most urgent, frenetic track that loses some of it's eloquence in a flurry of chaos that's not the right fir for the bands skills, but they do break it up somewhat with some nice stop/start grooves. 'Bottomless' returns to the fine form of 'There It Waits' with some superb textural changes within the framework of the song that covers a brusque chug and lurching tempo changes that could be Metallica dressed in a more menacing, less commercial clothing. Despite the promising opening of 'Mistake of the All Knowing', the track's impressively lumbering gait is split by needless clean breaks that reek of possible further development on future albums. I hope not, because as they stand Atlas Dying have all sorts of talent to do the things that mediocre Enforsaken, defunct Serberus and the label-less The Fifth Sun could not do: challenge the Europeans without resorting to a commercial, mall-a-riffic metalcore lean. The small time production is adequate if uneven, but it gets the job done and the band seem more challenged when trying to speed things up, but that's not their forte as Atlas Dying are impeccably built for ominous mid paced tones that are far too moody for metalcore or happy melodeath. They're in between niche is a perfect middle ground and perfectly implemented. Bravo guys, I look forward to the next release.
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