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Skip Straight To The Sophomore - 48%

dystopia4, October 13th, 2012

It would be best to skip straight to the band's second album in this case. While they would later become a band worth hearing, they certainly aren't on their debut album. More than anything, they just sound stupid here. Their music doesn't seem well planned out, and they play a lacklustre attempt at what has been done countless times before. While most prominently rooted in the brutal vein of death metal, they do try to throw in the occasional technical passage, with very limited success. In the end, this album brings nothing new to the table, while creating a truly pointless release.

Brutal death metal is the dominating force on this release, and vocals definitely echo this sentiment. Now I'm not saying this about the sub-genre as a whole, but here the vocals definitely seem stupid. Not in an “why the hell would anyone want to do these types of vocals?” kind of way, but flat out they just sound mindless. They are not all that well done, and come off as kind of annoying after a while. Largely, the rhythm guitar comes off in the same manner. Their attempts at brutality end up sounding simplistic and somewhat irritating. The guitar often feels jumbled, and is more based on rhythm than riffcraft. This wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing in itself, but the band just can't pull it off. The drumming is pretty lame - nothing all that interesting occurs behind the kit. Often the drumming seems like rock drumming adapted for death metal, which doesn't fit at all.

The band occasionally does technical passages, which is something they would later expand upon for the sophomore release. Here, they don't yet have the chops to pull it off. Surprisingly, they do borrow one element that certain technical death metal bands use – the bass as more than just a backing instrument. It seems strange that the one redeeming factor from the album would come from the bass, but that's how it goes down here. Often, the bass will do much more than back the guitar, creating interesting passages of it's own. In “Element”, there is a near-atmospheric break, where the melodic bass takes the forefront. There are often mini bass solos, which are well done and offer some brief relief from the mindlessness of the rest of the music.

In the end none of these songs are memorable or well done. The success of the bass guitar alone isn't enough to save this album. While they would later redeem themselves with a good second album, you certainly wouldn't be able to tell that Atheretic would go on to be a good band judging from this release alone. This isn't the mindless fun type of brutal death metal, it's just straight up mindless. The songs are horribly written and the guitar is awful, often bordering on annoying. Likewise, the drumming is nothing special and often grows to be irritating. Just do yourself a favour – skip straight to their second album. If you hear their sophomore and you like it, don't bother looking into their roots. You will be utterly disappointed. This album is a a pain to listen to and not at all worth checking out.