Tony Tears - The Atlantean Afterlife (... Living Beyond)

  by Malcolm Carter

published: 16 / 11 / 2021

Tony Tears - The Atlantean Afterlife (... Living Beyond)

Label: Pariah Child
Format: CD
Compelling new album from Italy’s Tony Tears who deserve more than to be only associated with the dark doom genres and here cover so much more ground


Confession time; despite decades listening to and trying (mainly unsuccessfully) to play music and priding myself that my tastes were eclectic and that I could appreciate any genre of music the one that I’m least versed in is what goes under a variety of names but I’ll go for one for now; doom metal. I could see its appeal and wasn’t adverse to it soundtracking films where it could work very well and there was a fascination for this type of music, but would I ever listen to it for enjoyment? Probably not. Then this latest opus from Tony Tears arrived. The album, having connections with the always excellent Pariah Child record label, deserved at least a cursory listen then. As I wrote above I’m no expert on this genre but I find myself retuning again and again to ‘The Atlantean Afterlife’ and find it one of the most fascinating albums I’ve heard all year. Regan Graves is also one of the featured guest musicians on the album and his work has also made an impression on these ears in the past, another reason to try to expand my appreciation of this music. Niggles first, as petty as they may seem, the CD is presented in a brilliant Digi Pak which goes some way to reflecting the music within. The thoughtfully put together booklet includes good colour images of the band, solo and together, but the lyrics and credits, printed appropriately on gold on black paper are difficult to read. Ok, so my aging eyes are not at their best but even young pairs have problems. I totally understand the reasoning behind the layout but if the lyrics and credits had been a little more readable it would have added just a little more to the experience of listening to the album. But that’s the only niggle with the album; the actual presentation is fine and the music is, well, especially for the uninitiated in this genre (or genres) something else. Anthony ‘Tears’ Polidori aka Tony Tears is well-known and respected on the Italian dark doom scene in which he has been involved in for decades now. This latest addition to his canon finds the first four songs being in Italian, the second set of four are in English, while the sounds created on ‘The Atlantean Afterlife’ have their roots firmly set in that doom/horror genre there is much more going on here. The album opens with chanting indicating that we are in for some kind of religious journey, albeit not one that you’d experience at Sunday School. Bass, which plays a larger part in creating atmosphere in these genes than in others\ enters while synths and organ all add to the mood. To these ears the sense of melody came as some surprise, that opening instrumental sequence was weirdly quite calming. The main vocals come in'; David Krieg is the lead male vocalist on the album and he can switch with ease from deep, spoken disturbing passages to impressive more conventional singing and opera style vocal histrionics. Tony Tears lead guitar work is impressive and again melodic while the organ which weaves in and out of the piece is exactly what I’d expect from my limited experience with this type of music. As an opening track in a foreign’s an impressive piece of art. If that opening cut threw all expectations of Italian dark doom out of the window then the following song, ‘Cristallo Nero di Astar’ will be an even bigger surprise. While Krieg’s chilling spoken passages, especially where he’s at an almost whisper, will have you looking behind as you listen even if you don’t understand a word of what he is saying, the chorus has an almost disco groove about it. It’s another track which will have any preconceptions about doom metal by the uninitiated blown out of the water. The following ‘II Messaggio della Rosa Rossa’ follows in the same arrangement but instead of that heavy-disco taking over the chorus here the spooky, spoken passages are interspersed with an almost conventional heavy metal vibe. Again it’s more melodic than expected although the closing banshee wail might throw you off that line a little. Even so, it’s a fitting close to what just passed. ‘Cantico delle Piramidi’ features Sandra Silver on lead vocals, At just over two minutes it’s the shortest track on the album and has an almost Eastern feel. It’s also one of the most beautifully unsettling pieces on the album, a sound that one wishes the band had explored on a longer track. The English language section starts with ‘Twelve Astral Planes’ which sounds like a perfect marriage between doom and heavy metal, Krieg’s vocals are particularly exceptional here displaying the full range of his vocal capabilities. The chugging ‘The Eye Of Horus’ also becomes a showcase for Krieg’s vocal abilities, another meeting between heavy metal and doom mixing in those chilling chants it’s another highlight on the album and, once again, Tears lead guitar is exceptional. The title track is the most adventurous on an album which covers so much ground on every cut, it’s impossible to just label this as doom or dark metal. While the base of much of this music lies in those general genres Tony Tears, the band, add so much more to the mix. Every musician involved in this project plays brilliantly throughout; how often is it that you feel you’ve got to name check the drummer (Lawrence Butleather) because he is holding the whole thing together brilliantly? The album is theatrical, compelling, melodic and will appeal to a much wider audience than the hardcore doom fans. Maybe time to check out their back catalogue and I’m looking forward to their next opus.

Track Listing:-

1 Il Ritorno Globo Alato
2 Cristallo Nero di Astar
3 Il Messaggio della Rosa Rossa
4 Cantico delle Piramidi
5 Twelve Astral Planes
6 The Eye of Horus
7 Black Temple Secret
8 The Atlantean Afterlife

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