Underground Sounds: Arx Atrata – Spiritus in Terra

Label: self released/bandcamp
Band: Arx Atrata
Origin: United Kingdom

It’s strange how sometimes you instantly hear that a band is from the UK. I’m finding that this is in the black metal realm a very distinguished sound. Clean, nature oriented (or that’s my personal reception of it) and with little regard for the grim traditions. The same goes for Arx Atrata, who released a rather gorgeous record with ‘Spiritus in Terra’.

Arx Atrata is a one man band, from a guy named Ben Sizer. If the artwork and font used on the record didn’t give it away yet, maybe the song title ‘Sherwood’ tipped you of. The sound is very clean, stripped of a lot of distortion to create a more harmonious, pleasant feel to the music. Not too pleasant though.

Meandering between the warm atmosphere of ColdWorld and the organic, Brittish sound of a Fen or Winterfylleth, Arx Atrata is evoking feelings of a mystical past. Inspiration clearly is from nature, if only from the coverimages. The origin of Notthingham of the band doesn’t shine through, but with a song like ‘Sherwood’ its surrounding woodland sure does.

The single string sounds of the guitar are very distinguishable in the sound of the band, but so are the keys. When either are used, they are the most prominent part of the sound. The tormented screams of Sizer fit right in with the sound, that is higly melodic with a touch of melancholy. The guitars sound feverish, nervous and never at ease, but then there’sthe keys like drops of water in a moonlit pond.

Take away the distortion, the grimness and satan stuff and you end up with pretty much this record. It feels like a reverie of that mysterious past, of history that is lost and felt keenly. It’s about that green realm in which we love to dwell. The harmonious balance, the blistering drums like hail in autumn and that dense oppressive feeling of autumn coming on. Contemplative and rich, it’s the record you should hear right now.

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