Album Review: Atlas – UKKO (Long Branch Records)

Atlas are a five-piece modern metalcore band from Tampere, Finland labelling themselves as ‘Northcore’. The quintet’s sound combines mammoth riffs and gloomy soundscapes, that draw inspiration from the cold of the North. Their releases include 2016 EP Northern Lights, 2018 standalone singles ‘Birthright’ and ‘The Catalyst’ and debut full-length Primitive, as well as their 2019 single trilogy.

Now, on December 10th, they will release their second album, UKKO via Long Branch Records.

Tuomas Kurikka (guitars) had this to say when it came to describing the album:

This is our way of honoring those we’ve loved and lost. Heavy looping rhythms, huge percussions, haunting atmospheres, dark soundscapes, and ominous melodies create an album that celebrates northern spirits. UKKO is a blend of something ancient combined with a cold and harsh perspective of these stray modern days. You could say that the album is a sacrifice to the old Finnish pagan gods.

If you want something this Christmas that has the icy chill and frozen feel of the season but without all the jolly holly bullshit, then Atlas have exactly what you need. Don’t understand what ‘Northcore’ is yet? You will.

In an impressive feat, Atlas manage to make you feel as though you’re in the icy tundra of the Finnish landscape with Talvi. It’s dark and cold but peaceful, until beasts that stalk and haunt the night come out to play on Synti. This is where the ‘core’ side of Atlas rises up as they take a methodical tempo and ramp up the savagery for a crunchy bout of heaviness.

Killer stuff. The blend of earnest but icy melody and furious metalcore continues into the raging Taivaanranta and Susi. However, if you’re after something with some real stompiness to it then the title track will deliver. The melodic breaks can’t lighten the mental load this track dumps on you. Pure ‘Northcore’ noise.

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The opposite end of the scale; Henki is a short piece of breathy harmonised chanting and eerie melody. It’s one of the only tracks to exude warmth as you can hear the crackle of a fire on a cold winter’s night. That leads into the folkish Lehto, a track with melody that gets more and more powerful. The strumming guitar and harmonised vocals sound immense.

Missing the metal? Fear not. Veri goes big. A bit of a metalcore epic that has incredible peaks. We then get the short and melodious palette cleaner of Joki before Atlas decimate the senses with Uhri and then go big on their way home. The finale of Pohjannaula, an absolute epic that is a spectacular culmination of everything Atlas have done on this album so far.

You wondered what Northcore was? Now you know and it is bloody excellent.

Atlas – UKKO Full Track Listing:

1. Talvi
2. Synti
3. Taivaanranta
4. Susi
6. Henki
7. Lehto
8. Veri
9. Joki
10. Uhri
11. Pohjannaula



Atlas - UKKO (Long Branch Records)
  • The Final Score - 9/10
User Review
7.52/10 (11 votes)