Produced, recorded and mixed by Carlos Santos at Sadman Studios, Verín. Mastered by Víctor García at Ultramarinos Mastering, Barcelona. Cover artwork by Robert Hernández. Art direction and design by Chamani. Photography by Sergio Albert. Management by Nano Ruiz-Lengua Armada.
Released via Ardua Music on Friday 30 June 2023.
Dust from a Dark Sun (2023) is the fourth full-length album from Spanish heavy power trio Aathma.
Originally formed in Madrid in 2007 from members of the seasoned bands Glow, Autumnal, and Adrift, the band quickly developed their own identity and gained popularity, leading to their debut album The Call of Shiva (2009) being chosen as the best unsigned record by the readers of Terrorizer magazine.
Gaining momentum with their next two full-length albums, Decline… Towers of Silence (2011) and Avesta (2017), as well as the Deadly Lake EP (2014), the band increased their live activity, including a European tour with the blackened crust punks Khmer and support shows for diverse renowned artists like Godflesh, Baroness, Forgotten Tomb and Altar of Plagues, as well as celebrated sets at big festivals like Madrid is the Dark, Resurrection Fest, Doom Over Paris, and Bracara Extreme Fest.
On this new album the band pursues a more straightforward approach with shorter, heavier songs that still show the band’s peculiar blend of sludge, different styles of doom and atmospheric metal, with massive wall breaking riffs, mesmerizing ambient passages and frontman and guitarist Juan Viguera’s unique and emotive voice.
The record’s lyrical concept revolves around the idea of becoming one with the cosmos after respecting Mother Nature’s creation, when we become dust from that dark star after trying to live a right and respectful life towards all other sentient beings.
There are some releases that I feel reluctant to let go of. For some reason, I had the opposite reaction to this—I really struggled to get into it. This is the first album I’ve listened to where I had a strong physical reaction to the music. It made me feel deeply anxious. I thought this might be a one-off, the result of listening to it while tired, in bed. But I get this each time I listen to the album. It’s unsettling. I know that I identify as an HSP—a highly-sensitive person, but this is the first time I’ve had this kind of physical response to a record.
Stylistically, the music reminds me of End of Level Boss. It is dark, brooding, sludgy music that, as I said, instils a deep sense of unease in me. I’ve heard enough—it’s good, but I’m not going to expose myself to any more dust from this dark sun.
As the press release states, “Dust From a Dark Sun” is a fresh-sounding record that avoids pigeonholed stereotypes and will resonate with listeners who yearn for a sincere and moving experience from one of Spain’s most personal heavy acts.” If it hadn’t dragged my soul into the pits and left me feeling decidedly unsettled, I may have scored this higher. As it is…
Review score: 65%
Anubi Press contacted me inviting me to preview Aathma’s latest album, thank you. I have no connections to either Anubi Press or Aathma. I’m not being paid to review this, but I did get a free digital copy of the album to review which is pretty cool. Many thanks to Anubi Press, and to Aathma for continuing to create fresh, interesting new music.