Atrocity – Hallucinations - 4/5
So, the first review I’ve picked up from the forum in a while, posted by Julian Chan. Regulars on the board will realise we often differ in musical taste, so naturally I was apprehensive about what id find. Thankfully, I need not have worried.
Before taking it, I did my background research on this old Death Metal band, to give an indication of what I should expect. What I found was that I should expect a good, if unconventional progressive death metal album. Right, so something along the lines of Atheist or Cynic then? Wrong. Whilst both of them experimented with other genres Atrocity very much stick to death metal. They play around with the limits of the genre, without straying from them, creating a sound that is both unique and constantly changing, yet feeling almost like a “best of” in terms of different styles within the genre.
Usually, the release date doesn’t get a mention, opting rather to take a modern ‘how well does it hold up now’ attitude, but here it deserves it. The production for the time it was released is phenomenal. It has aged incredibly well, retaining that raw sound whilst remaining crisp and clear, and seeing as it was released almost 20 years ago now, the progressive nature rivals many of today’s prog/death bands in terms of its chaotic nature, rapidly changing styles and sheer aggression. The fact it has aged so well deserves mentioning, as this is not just an album to appeal to those who preferred the old sound, but to those who like the modern equivalent.
The vocals are a definite low point on the album. They’re mid-ranged, unenthused, lacking in aggression and highly monotonous. In fact, its only in the bonus tracks do we hear something different. It is, however, fitting with the sound, and doesn’t detract from the work done the rest of the band. The drumming is easily heard without sounding overpowering, working with the bass and rhythm in most sections as a backing for the vocals, broken up by quick aggressive guitar pieces. Both are highly varied in tempo, style, and aggression, allow for a wide variation in the chaotic atmosphere, sometimes slower and more doom-filled, other times sounding like a pounding cacophony of sadistic brutality.
However, there are times where all this becomes overwhelming. It sounds like there is too much going on – everything begins to blur. Conflicting tempo’s between guitar riffs, drumming and vocal work leads to an incoherent sound, as though they aren’t really paying attention to each other. This can lead to it getting very boring very quickly, and there were times I felt my attention wane.
This is one that should definitely appeal to fans of Atheist and later Death, a well constructed album not without its flaws, but undoubtedly a forgotten gem of the past.
Highlights: Fatal Step, Abyss of Addiction, Humans Lost Humanity.
By T. Bawden