Album: Dawn of Cataclysm
Released date: December 11th, 2015
Genre: Death/Doom Metal
Label: Satanarsa Records
What we have here is the debut full-length opus of the Filipino death/doom metal trio, Ataul. To those of you who are not familiar with this extreme metal act, the band was formed way back the year 2012 in Laguna, Philippines, and they had released a three-track demo cassette format in June 2013, under Illinois‘ Mandarangan Recordings, and a DIY eight-track cassette format demo in 2015 called “Ataul MMXIV / Rehearsal“. Also, two of the current members of the band, M.G. Diestro (vocals/bass) and Vic Jarlego (drums), are also in the current line-up of the Filipino thrash metal group Rabies.
I was introduced to Ataul‘s music by a fellow extreme metal enthusiast, Michael, who is also a long time buddy of mine since I was in my college days showing up on local metal shows and exploring the realm of the underground metal scene, both local bands, and bands from outside our country. Basically, we were chatting and catching up when he told me to go and check out Ataul‘s music as they are one of the few Filipino underground metal acts out there who has serious raw power and talent. I took Michael‘s recommendation and ferret around the world wide web to find digital copies of the band’s material until I bumped into their SoundCloud page and a single track on YouTube from Mandarangan Recordings‘ page. After I had listened to those materials from the band that I had found, I immediately knew that I need to hunt down and hear their debut record “Dawn of Cataclysm“.
“Dawn of Cataclysm” was Ataul‘s debut which was released last December 15th of 2015 by Russia‘s Satanarsa Records. This premiere full-length album of the band holds seven (7) solid death/doom tracks with a crushing and very dark ethos on display. During the first time that you dare listen to this album, you can expect to hear a death/doom style of music that follows the blueprint for painfully slow and heavy conveyance, but that’s not just what this material has to offer as you will be surprised on how the band had also able to emboss their own style in this crowning oeuvre. The guitar department, supplied by J.L. Carandang, in this record is truly ponderous and pulverizing, as it features hulking stomping riffs that seems like it is about to crush heaven’s gates and repress all the celestial beings dwelling in there. Yes, they are mostly sluggish and stagnant, but those riffs hold a bursting aggression that will drag the listeners to plunge into Ataul‘s gloaming and dusky piece. And in some of the tunes, there are also preeminent solos that J.L. had thrown in the table too.
It is not just the guitar performance that stands solidly in this album, but all the other instruments and elements as well, including the bass which is distinctive, audible, and fleetingly exciting in numerous moments. M.G.‘s bass lines alternately go behind the guitar section and in brief moments it meanders off on its own melody, and the way the melodies cooperate and harmonize can be thrilling. The bass may have a morbid sound in overall essence, but at the same time, it is listenable, to say the least, if one has the volume at a decent listening level. The drumming also does exactly what it needs to do in the album. It gives a nice extra punch in the songs and it pummels the listeners’ ears in ways that it needed to do. Drum patterns provided in here are inventive. Vic, the drummer, certainly knows that in this genre he cannot rely on speed and power alone, like what he does on his other bands playing in other genres, and that is why with Ataul he compensated with talent and creativity. His drumming, along with the impressive tandem of the guitar and the bass, makes this one an intense album to listen to.
The vocals delivered by M.G. in the tunes in this material are brutal and are in a total deep tone which can really grab those who are listening to this opus. His demonic barks and hostile snarls work perfectly well with the band’s approach and those mephistophelean screams he often howls will make your hair stand on end with its raspy timbre. Now there are times where the vocal delivery may sound a bit weaker than the usual and where it may look like it lacks the steadiness to sustain its necessary competence to harmonize with the band’s music, but the impactful tandem of this trio manages to keep everything altogether tight and make that minor setback in the vocal department seem non existent.
Onward to the album’s production, I very much dig the technique on that area that was done in this release. It holds a somewhat muddled and partly paralleled in a much grindcore music method yet it has an exquisite sound. The production is in some measure disrupted, but still, it is listenable to the ears. In a sense, this is as what I would like to call true ‘kvlt‘ sounding death/doom metal.
Altogether, “Dawn of Cataclysm” is a very good and solid debut opus crafted by Ataul. The tracks in here are varied and they never drag the listeners on for too long. This debut release may not be a total masterpiece by all means, but it is totally worth buying and worth including into your extreme music collection rack. If you fellas weren’t able to get this album’s Satanarsa Records CD first pressing and the Anugal Audio Terror limited to 30 copies cassette format, or the 2017 cassette format rerelease, then go and grab the recent Metal Extremo Producciones ProCD release now and do not let this fourth chance slip away before it goes sold out again.