Atlases Interview: “Stand up again and learn from past mistakes”

Atlases

New track ‘Atone’ is out now.

They may be under a year old, but Finnish post-metal group Atlases have really hit the ground running. Toward the end of last year, they dropped their debut EP. Titled Penumbra (which is defined as: “the partially shaded outer region of the shadow cast by an opaque object” or “a peripheral or indeterminate area or group”), the effort is a gritty and instinctive four-song set that is immediately arresting.

This year has seen them expand their sound with the release of the eight-minute ‘Atone’. A direct and bludgeoning force, the song attacks like a tempest before briefly allowing a slight respite before a denouement of immense power.

To celebrate the release of ‘Atone’, we spoke to Jerkka Perälä (bass and clean vocals) about their death metal vocals, where the title of their debut EP originated and fatal flaws.

Overblown: You have recently released a track called ‘Atone’. Will that appear on an upcoming EP/LP or is a stand-alone release?

Jerkka Perälä: ’Atone’ was indeed a stand-alone release. We are currently working on new material. Some of it can be heard at our live shows.

Overblown: For me, the track has hints of Amenra. Are you fans of them?

Jerkka Perälä: I can’t speak for the rest of the band, but I personally haven’t listened to that much of Amenra. I do know the band and have listened to some of their tracks, and I’m kind of getting around to listening to their albums as a whole at some point. Some of us in the band haven’t actually listened to that much post-metal before starting in this band.

Overblown: Last year, you released your debut EP Penumbra. Where did the title come from?

Jerkka Perälä: Ville-Veikko came up with all the titles on this release. I personally feel like that the name matches the material on the EP very nicely. It has deep, dark shadows on it, but the deepest and darkest shadows always demand great, illuminating light. To me, the EP has them both.

Overblown: Why call the band a ‘modern post-metal’ and now just ‘post-metal’?

Jerkka Perälä: We don’t necessarily want to label ourselves so tightly just into the post-metal section. We feel that our music has a bit different touch to post-metal, perhaps because of our wide array of influences and interests in different genres of music. Maybe the reason for ‘modern post-metal’ can be heard even more accurately on our future releases.

Overblown: In my opinion, the vocals on your music are more ‘death metal’ influenced than other post-metal bands. What drew you to this vocal style?

Jerkka Perälä: Our main vocalist Jamppa has previously worked on several black and death metal acts, and when Ville-Veikko was starting the band, he heard Jamppa’s vocals and felt that they would fit Penumbra’s compositions nicely. And they sure did!

Overblown: My favourite song on your debut EP is ‘Hamartia’. The word ‘hamartia’ means “a fatal flaw leading to the downfall of a tragic hero or heroine.” How is that connected to the song?

Jerkka Perälä: Again, Ville-Veikko came up with the title and also wrote the song, so maybe it has more personal aspects to it as well, but I think about this song as more of the period of time just after a fatal error, that can be heavy and setting you on a standstill of sorts, dropping you to your knees. After the calm tranquillity, there’s still a storm to overcome, after which you get to stand up again and learn from past mistakes. I also like to think that the listener can visualize their own interpretation of the song. Instrumental songs have that weird power in them, in a way you get to be the storyteller yourself.

Overblown: I also really enjoyed the clean singing on ‘Shards Of Broken Light’. Is that something you plan to explore more in future?

Jerkka Perälä: Great to hear that you enjoyed it. And yes, definitely. Jamppa’s vocals will stay as the main lyrical delivery but we already have more parts including clean singing in our new material, and some other new interesting stuff as well.

Overblown: What are the band’s plans for the summer?

Jerkka Perälä: We’re taking a very short break from touring and we’re focusing on writing, producing and recording the new material.

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