Atila is a dark ambient/electronica project that hails from Porto, Portugal. This stands as yet another musical entity for Miguel Béco, better known for his recent black metal and noise project Örök. In the course of this venture, Atila has seen four digital EPs, all titled with roman numerals, the first of which was released back in 2012. For 2015, however, we are given the long awaited full-length debut, aptly titled V. It is available as a digital download through the band's Bandcamp account, a limited cassette run through Bisnaga Records, and finally on limited edition digipack through Signal Rex. But does this major release stand as one worth discovering, or is it far from anything all that spectacular?

Right away, V establishes itself as the kind of science fiction score that is best heard in the dark. "V.I Acreção" spends a good deal of time establishing a mechanical atmosphere with a light hum of machinery that gradually becomes swallowed with a dull drum beat and other radar-like clicking effects and random crackles to build up the tension. But, as you reach three minutes, the music picks up, taking on more of a ritualistic rhythm that is subtle enough to leave you a slave to the machine before it all fades heading into "V.II Carne". This one, however, presents itself in more of an astral manner, as if lost in a desert in the middle of the night as the beings just out of sight in the abyss ahead of you beckon with their roars and hushed commands against a tribal drum beat. Sadly, that latter aspect gives way to a bit of madness, as if gazing upon the ancient ones themselves.

If you haven't figured it out yet, V is essentially a free flowing album. From start to finish, each track seems to bleed into one another, all the while keeping a similar aspect from the last. While it makes for a consistant experience, it can sometimes seem a bit repetitive, if not redundant the deeper in you go. The most obvious departure from the like sounding mechanical effects, rattling, and dull drum beat would be "V.IV Homem", which features António Costa of Ermo belting out some additional lyrics to the mix, as well as "V.VI Ritos Fúnebres" with it's jump to a mid-paced, mildly catchy dance hall electronica presentation that plays up the aforementioned "slave to the machine" angle in more of a militaristic marching pattern.

V isn't really all that much to look at as far as musical diversity goes, but, for a dark ambience and electronica release, it's okay for what it is. There isn't really much to be said that the first two tracks don't immediately sum up. It's essentially one idea sprawled across over forty-one minutes, but handled well enough that it doesn't seem like the whole experience is anything more than a half-an-hour at max. There's a decent amount of tension to be found in the subtle science fiction world, but as to what the imagery is supposed to be can end up quite confusing. One moment it's as if I was in a space ship with my head shaved bald as I fight to correct the flight coordinates with an evil lurking behind me and the other like individuals aboard, while the next I'm in the desert or marching through the ship, right down to being placed in a nightclub raving to the dismal tones being produced. As a core concept, V definitely would have been a better experience if handled as an EP, as this full-length doesn't have much to keep the listener engaged beyond a few spins before it's nothing more than background noise you'll find yourself paying less and less attention to.

Check out my other work at Apoch's Metal Review.