Atrocity - Okkult

12 songs
55:58 minutes
***** ****


Atrocity are one of the most senior metal bands from Germany. Founded in 1985, the band released its debut Hallucinations in 1990. Back then, the band still played technical death metal, but soon they switched to all kinds of subgenres, trying everything from gothic over folk to industrial. I was not the only one slightly confused by their constant style switching, although I have to admit that I did get my kicks out of their two Eighties cover albums Werk 80 (1997) and Werk 80 II (2008). Normally I wouldn’t have given the band much notice with their meanwhile twelfth longplayer Okkult, the first part of a planned trilogy, but song titles like Death By Metal, Haunted By Demons and Murder Blood Assassination made me a little curious.

And what a pleasure it was to discover that Atrocity have gone back to their roots, at least a little. It’s quite possible that Okkult is the band’s hardest album to date. Starting with Pandaemonium, we get instantly a six and a half epic cut of monstrous death metal with some black metal and symphonic parts, the latter courtesy of the Lingua Mortis Orchestra, which was recorded by Rage’s Victor Smolski in Belarus. That’s probably not the most democratic place to do such a job, but who cares when the result is much better than some programmed pseudo-classical crap? The following Death By Metal is just pure bliss. Here the band is primitively thrashing through a super-fast piece of metal, just the way it has always been supposed to sound like. March Of The Undying adds again symphonic elements but also retains the rawness that makes this record such a pleasant surprise. I am not going into detail about each and every track, but another standout moment comes with the quick paced Murder Blood Assassination which is crude and catchy as hell. The only time the band slightly harks back to ancient times is on the club hit Satans Braut, even though this song still sounds more brutal than anything else in the bands’ mid- to late-period.

I absolutely congratulate Atrocity on having recorded such a pure, primitive and yet still in many ways sophisticated album. After all their dabbling in industrial folk gothic wave metal, they gave me the impression that they were catering mostly for a female audience. That this is not so is perfectly shown on Okkult, the band’s best album in over twenty years. This is in my opinion a very smart career move, as band leader Alexander Krull, whose hair is growing ever longer, is also active with his wife Liv Kristine in the symphonic metal band Leaves’ Eyes, where he has enough opportunity to play softer metal music. Therefore it’s high time that Atrocity have found a way back to their extreme metal roots. And frankly, I wouldn’t have expected such a successful return as they did on the very excellent Okkult.

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