The Atlas Moth's success has always come from compelling composites. Though they began as a formidable sludge outfit, the Chicago band’s old mold had broken by the time they recorded their second album, 2011’s An Ache for the Distance, which turned black metal torment into post-rock splendor, mid-tempo marches into alternate-universe alternative rock, and late-album comedowns into psychedelic dreamstates. Even the band’s personnel confirmed those polyglot tendencies; screamer Stavros Giannopoulos and singer David Kush traded guttural yells and grand refrains, conjuring incredible tension through variety and unpredictability.
Set against the backdrop of contemporary heavy metal — a milieu that often celebrates violence, hatred, and darkness — The Atlas Moth’s third full-length, The Old Believer, displays a peculiar sensitivity. Abandoning the spaghetti western motif of their impressive sophomore set, An Ache for the Distance, Believer emerges as an extended meditation on grief, like Pantera’s “Cemetery Gates” expanded into an album-length fantasy epic (which makes sense given the band’s string of personal losses). Dual frontmen Stavros Giannopoulos and David Kush frequently address their lyrics to some unspecified “you,” an other who has passed on to a world beyond their reach.
The Atlas Moth The Old Believer (Profound Lore) Graceful and powerful, Chicago's Atlas Moth hones its sweeping art metal to its finest point yet on The Old Believer. The songs ebb and flow, cruising like lava down a volcano side, burning mournful melodies directly into the earth. Guitarists Stavros Giannopoulos and David Kush trade licks and vocals, Kush's heart-on-sleeve baritone contrasting Giannopoulos' agonized screams.