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As a dedicated MJ Rock Tribute Artist – The ATif, a project led by singer-songwriter Atif Ali Khan – garnered worldwide attention by way of his full length MJ Rock Tribute Compilations. However his admiration for legendary artists stretches beyond, to acts like Freddie Mercury, The Doors and Guns n Roses. All of whom have made him a real disciple of the classic rock era. The ATif blends his songwriting skills with a vocal mastery that includes nuances of rap and full throated melodic singing. His instrumentals are heavily layered in support of his complex arrangements. All of which can be heard on his brand new single – “Soul Hacker”, released just in time for Halloween.

When listening to any music by The ATif, you need to approach each release in a different and creative way, as you really don’t know what you’re going to get on each record. Which I think is always a good surprise. Each of his songs is a musical journey, not knowing which direction The ATif will go next.

Mixing Goth-rock bliss with some metal heaviness, on “Soul Hacker”, the artist certainly shows his talent, an uncompromising use of his skills. The song has high-ranging vocal screams, deep growling voices;  it goes as dark and heavy as The ATif can go, but it is also has very beautiful clean melodic parts.

“Soul Hacker” comprises aggressive, brutal riffs and searing lead guitar solos, shimmering piano keys, resonating basslines and steady, solid drumming. However it is the sheer force and range of The ATif’s vocals that are at once the most impacting element.

Dark, beautiful and riveting from beginning to end, The ATif blends the theatrics of prime Meatloaf and the nuanced range of a young Steve Perry into an explosive vocal package. No other vocal style would fit this song. “Soul Hacker” does not easily fall into any genre framework. It is a rock symphony, and a titanic artistic achievement for an indie artist.

Progressive, retro, modern, angelic and demonic, encompasses all these adjectives but words alone do not do The ATif’s music justice. The real brilliance of this song is the music. This track has a very dark mood and dark lyrics, yet at the same time, it’s beautiful in every sense of the word. This is possibly The ATif’s best performance I have heard thus far.

“Soul Hacker” has a multitude of twists and turns that keep the piece interesting without sounding overly stuffed, a testament to the compositional skills of The ATif, and the performing substance of his accompanying band. The band overall plays incredibly fluidly, moving from passage to passage, from fierce tones to tenebrous melodies and back, with confidence and drama.

Truly if anyone outside the rock music world needs evidence of the genre’s artistic possibilities, The ATif is the artist to turn to, and “Soul Hacker” is one of his finest examples. There is a great sense of balance and brilliance, in the music here.

The song has to be heard for yourself to really understand how breathtaking it is in places. If you are looking for something a little different and totally awesome within the rock arena right now, check out this track and artist. The ATif is in a league of his own.


By staff

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