Norwegian band Atena have honed an emotional, experimental metalcore sound that fuses huge riffs with soundscapes built on orchestral, choral, hip-hop and industrial elements.
The Oslo band began as a school project that saw original members leave and people from other local bands join in, which ended up with the current quartet of Jakob Skogli (vocals), Vebjørn Iversen (guitar), Ulrik Linstad (bass) and Fredrik Kåsin (drums).
On their sound, they tell us: ” We really like to make a soundscape. We like to groove a lot and add other genres like hip hop, cool sounds like string-orchestras, choirs and so on to keep it fresh while there’s fat riffs going on. Some of us are very into Rammstein so I think you sort of can tell from time to time.”
Our latest taste of the Atena sound gives us a glimpse into the heavier side of the band in new single Flash! -THUNDER. It jumps straight into big screamed vocals and huge low-tuned guitars under a cry of “Come on motherfucker,” which drops into fun synths and electronic beats under rapped vocals.
Heavy guitars kick in alongside clean and screamed vocals in the chorus, which ends on huge stabbing guitars that drop into more electronic beats. Crushing low-tuned guitars and wild electronic noises then support heavy screamed vocals, which flow into another chorus.
The pace drops with laid-back instrumentals, but picks back up with screamed vocals and groovy stabbing guitars that feed into a final chorus.
On the track, the band tell us: “Been going really great! We haven’t had that much success in such a sort time when it comes to streams, so we’re very happy and extremely grateful to have such a cool and nice following of kind people that are rooting for us. You can expect a sort of ballad with breakdowns and a chorus with a big fat chest.”
Prior to that, they released an album in 2020 beautifully entitled Drowning Regret & Lungs Filled With Water. From it, we love the sound of equally joyously titled, beautifully heavy penultimate track Death Is All I Think About. It opens up with light electronic noises and clean vocals before heavy guitars kick in alongside dark synths and support big screamed vocals.
A touching moment sees spoken vocals end with the line “Mum needs to know why” drop into searing synth sounds, which continue under intense drums and screamed vocals before a huge atmospheric final chorus. Check it out in the video below:
Taking things back to the heavier end of the scale is Born Rotten, the first full track on the album. It dives straight into savage opening vocals supported by booming drums and guitars. A female voice “I was born for this” is answered by cries of “Doesn’t matter she was born rotten.” Intense lyrics follow, then the sound of a baby crying under dark instrumental noises, then a darting synth sound gives way to an assault of savage vocals. Check it out in the dark video below:
The album is packed with diverse tracks like the superb Slap and No Hope For Miscarriage, more hip-hop influenced Domestic Abuse and Let Them Hang In The Halls
Atena draw influence from the likes of Slipknot, Rammstein, System Of A Down, as well as a Norwegian band we’ve never heard of called Benea Reach, on whom the band say made them think “Hey, maybe we could try to do this as well?”
And on what inspires them to write music, they tell us: “We really dream about playing in a band and being able to play live to a lot of people as much as possible. and a lot of people like mostly like when we get depressive. So we mostly write sad and dark songs about sad stuff that people go through. We wrote a concept story of a family-drama through three albums (proper nerdy movie-stuff) and that family had it pretty rough, so if you’re into that sort of style you should check us out.”
We’ve not met too many Norwegian bands lately, so we asked the band for their thoughts on their local scene. They told us: “If you play black metal, traditional metal or stuff like Turbonegro/Kvelertak there is a lot of support from the industry. If you’re ‘dumb’ like us and promote yourself as a Metalcore act you’re pretty much on your own and it’s still kind of frowned upon here. But we’ve been pretty stubborn with playing to no-one for A LOT of years and can finally see metalcore beginning to be more accepted genre than it was before.”
There’s plenty more to come from Atena, having just signed with a booking agency that’s opening some “amazing” opportunities for them. They’re also in the process of writing a new album, on which they say: “We’re still trying to figure this new album out because we don’t want to completely ruin our chances. We’re writing a lot but can’t really promise when you can expect more from us because we don’t want to write the same album again and write breath-taking songs (which is kind of hard to do tbh).”
And when asked what they else they want you to know about Atena, they told us: “We’re pretty serious about writing music and we really love what we do. Our singer is very tall. Our bassist is also tall and can chug a beer in two seconds or so. Our guitarist and drummer aren’t that tall. We also try our best to be a good band so people can like our music and maybe want to see us play live and hope you can give us a chance.”