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Review: Atena – Shades of Black Won’t Bring Her Back

Norwegian metalcore group Atena hits us with energized metal in their latest release Shades of Black Won’t Bring Her Back. It is only about 25 minutes long with 9 tracks, so it won’t take much of your time. This is a fun album to blast when nobody’s home; check it out on Spotify, Bandcamp, and head to their Facebook!

Shades of Black Won’t Bring Her Back is definitely one of the most fun albums I have listened to in a while. It doesn’t swoon me with technical ability, but it isn’t boring like a lot of other simple bands. There is something rather charming about Atena’s chosen simplicity. At times you just want to move and hit things. At other times you want to take a step back and listen to what’s going on in the background and grasp everything that you’re hearing. The vocalist captures raw anger and frustration that plays along nicely with the music. When he isn’t screaming he keeps a catchy groove with the djenty riff being played, like on “Child Support.” Also let’s take a moment to appreciate the audible bass on this entire album. Thank you.

The breakdowns are frequent and more catchy than I’d like to admit. Not all of the songs are entirely composed of breakdowns, don’t worry. In fact there can be quite a contrast, like on “Divorce.” “Divorce” goes from an energetic breakdown to a soothing section with spoken word to a fast riff to the soothing section then ends on a heavy note. The variation keeps it interesting.

“Firstborn” kind of reminds me of an Auras song by the djenty breakdown with an aural rhythm accompanying it. The drumming on “Firstborn” is really fun and lots of neat little fills have been added for you listening pleasure. The song keeps up the high energy Atena is known for until the end where it calms down a bit and eventually fades out.

My favorite track is “Molly” for a few reasons. It has a good intro that appropriately builds up to a chugged verse then another one of Atena’s really catchy breakdowns. There is a lot of attitude in this song that bleeds through during that one breakdown (which is played at two different times). “Molly” also reminds me of Animal, but with a bit more spunk in the drumming. The attitude that comes forth is one that gives you the feeling you’re about to witness a crime you know? Same thing on “Viole(n)t.” Main difference is that “Viole(n)t” keeps that criminal feeling going throughout the entire song rather than just during certain moments, but hey we all like violence and illegal things so this song is welcomed with open arms.

“Black Lungs” seems to bring back that raw anger that is present more on the first half of Shades of Black Won’t Bring Her Back combined with that attitude from “Molly.” “Black Lungs” is one of the breakdown dominant songs, but it’s fun to listen to nonetheless. This is one of those songs to play live to get the crowd pumped up, ya know. And finally Shades of Black Won’t Bring Her Back ends on a more typical metalcore note with “Black Heart.” By more typical I mean: a drum groove that follows a happy sounding scale/chord progression and a rhythm that plays really high notes. I hope you get what I mean. Either way that’s what’s going on here. It isn’t bad, but it isn’t as interesting as the other songs in my opinion.

That wraps up Shades of Black Won’t Bring Her Back. This album has a lot of moments to make you get up and move; I can only imagine Atena live. I’m going to congratulate them for wonderful production, mixing, and mastering and for a nice bass tone. Like I said before: while this wasn’t technically advanced or show off-y, it is still fun to listen to. Why not check a song out?

Rate: 7.1/10

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