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Atrocious (aren't I clever) - 10%

joncheetham88, October 2nd, 2010

Here's a new album by Atrocity, one that goes to show what an essentially insignificant force they are creatively and what a bad businessman Alexander Krull is. Why creatively spent? Because they change their sound with each album, snapping a few stolen ideas into their basic template of distorted guitars and boring male vocals (Mr. Krull, ladies and gentlemen) with no trace of evolution between albums.

And why is this such bad business? Surely a band doing this is sure to get new audiences for each album. Well, it's so hard to reconcile the folky goth rock of this record with the '80s embracing cheese orgy of Werk 80 II or the industrial gothic death metal of Atlantis, not to mention the processed goth'n'roll of Gemini. And so on into their back catalogue. So who exactly would follow this band? There is no single remarkable element of their sound that they sustain between albums, and despite the fact that this draws from an old Atrocity EP in terms of sound it might as well be a different band from what Atrocity have become. Which brings me onto another thing, it was 15 years between that EP and this - in that time, did you not listen to some ACTUAL world music? Did you not experience as we did the saturation of female-fronted crappy goth-metal and think that perhaps you might want to do something different? I guess not. It's like Chinese Democracy in terms of anticlimax, just without the amusing reactions from Beijing dailies.

'A New Arrival' kicks things off with a predictable raid of that Enya album you always hear playing in those hippy shops that sell incense and small wooden carvings for no apparent reason and at no apparent profit. Some orchestral drums as well. 'As The Sun Kissed The Sky' and several other tracks consist solely of twanging acoustic guitars and harmonized vocals that go nowhere and achieve nothing Midnattsol hasn't done better. You may as well listen to some better world music or a band who integrates these sounds a lot better, like Betray My Secrets, Shiva in Exile or SpiRitual. Check em out by the way, instead of buying this dross - oops, sorry, spoiled the ending of my review.

Self-plagiarism is evident here, with 'Call of Yesteryear' simply an updated version of 'Calling the Rain' though admittedly with Yasmin sounding a touch less awful on the vocals. Alex Krull has access to both Liv Kristine's smooth buttered pipes (he's married to them actually) and her younger sis Carmen Elise who has a much more convincing folky lilt to her voice, and plumped for this girl. Well it is his sister. I shan't be holding back though. The hey-hey-a-hey-a-hey type singing is overused, the false warbling tonal modulations by Yasmin are inauthentic and Krull's vocal contributions are characteristically cringy.

The "ethnic" isn't good then, and the "metal" isn't good either. There's barely any guitars on here, but when they do show up they do even less than in Leaves' Eyes, just blaring along shapelessly beneath the vocals and twanging folk instruments. 'Black Mountain' attempts some Am Universum-era Amorphis freakouts on lead guitar which is a momentary save, and despite the cheesy growls this is a rare interesting moment. 'Transilvania', another "metal" song is a total bore, by this point the flutes aren't even entertaining me to the same extent they do on say, Equilibrium, or other bands that use them as an exciting gimmick with some success.

The album is boring enough to totally drain your energy. If you really must have a regular dose of metal with female vocals that's catchy and accessible with a bunch of different influences, go for Tristania's latest which is very good. Or push the boat out and check out Jex Thoth ('70s Black Sabbath with boobs). If you want lovely, worldy ethnic music from the heart, check out the music of Japanese honey Akiko Shikata, she's fucking awesome.