Thursday, April 25, 2013

Atrocity: Okkult (2013)

Definitely Not Atrocious

I’m not sure I’ve ever actually heard Leaves’ Eyes. Just the same, I’ve always assumed they were another Nightwish clone. Apparently Atrocity is the same band, minus the female lead. Atrocity has been around a hell of a lot longer, and it doesn’t sound much like Nightwish.

Occasionally I will listen to something from Napalm Records, despite the fact most of their releases are a little too Euro for my taste. But Atrocity’s Okkult has become somewhat of a guilty pleasure for me. It’s nominally extreme symphonic metal, with an undeniably Napalm side to it. Imagine something along the lines of Septicflesh or Dimmu Borgir if they didn’t take themselves so seriously.

They can occasionally play some serious blackened death, which could almost make you forget everything I’ve said to this point, and they add drama with the symphonic and chanted elements. Every time, they throw something into the mix that practically screams Euro. “Haunted by Demons” and “Murder Blood Assassination” are ridiculously infectious, even if they are a bit goofy at times. They’re basically pure heavy metal in a Septicflesh costume. “Satan’s Braut” has a riff that could have come from gothic metallers The Vision Bleak. Late-album tracks like “When Empires Fall to Dust” and “Beyond Perpetual Ice” have a mid-2000’s Soilwork vibe.

Still, for some reason it never makes me cringe. They put on this scary extreme metal façade, but that doesn’t hide the fist-pumping summer festival dudes they really are. The upshot is, there are Dream Evil style hooks in a context that’s more palatable to the too-serious American metalhead that I am. I can forget myself for a minute and just enjoy. Maybe you can do the same.

The Verdict: 3.5 out of 5 stars

The album releases tomorrow, or May 7 in the U.S.

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