I can honestly say that An Unending Pathway is one of the most unique albums I've heard in quite some time. The Portland, Oregon quartet known as Atriarch, comprised of Lenny (Vocals), Brooks (Guitars), Maxamillion(Drums), and Joe (Bass), take their love of doom, black metal, death metal, punk, sludge, drone, and psychedelia, mix it up in a blender, and out comes something that's almost impossible to describe. For the most part, it's all delivered within a doom type framework, as most of the songs plod along rather slowly, with droning, lumbering riffs providing the backbone, yet not out front & center like they are on a pure doom release. Instead, Lenny's haunting vocals provide the focal point, as he slips in some punk styled rage, creepy black metal rasps, sludge ingested screams, and deep, inhuman death growls. It's an overall nightmarish performance from the vocalist, and while he's not going to be everyone's cup of tea, you have to give him credit for the amount of variety he brings to the table here. "Revenant" is just downright chilling, with the singer running the gamut of styles and emotions, while his punk side comes out on the jarring death/doom track "Collapse". The crushing, atmospheric death march that is "Rot" again sees his punk inflected tone mix in a setting that you wouldn't think would work, but it does, and both "Allfather" and "Veil" remind a bit of some of the more extreme sounds of Celtic Frost or Triptykon. "Entropy" even throws out some stunning blast beats amid a battle between raging black metal & crushing doom.
An Unending Pathway is so out there at times that it's almost puzzling. For some, this melting pot of sounds, mixed with the frightening tone of much of the album, is going to be very unsettling. However, Atriarch have to be given credit for trying something totally different, injecting a breath of fresh air into the extreme metal genre.