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This was a 1989 single/EP by Atrocity, who I discovered with the following masterpiece, "Hallucinations" (released in 1990). While the full length was more of a "technical death metal" release and was more grounded in a specific style, this album is a bit more experimental. Sadly, this experimentalism does not work to the band's favor. In addition, this is not helped by the poor sound quality and the fact that the songs themselves are hardly very interesting.
The title track, "Blue Blood", opens this EP with an awkward drum intro. What is immediately apparent is that vocalist Alexander Krull growls in a different style for this EP, a much deeper sound which is, honestly, not particularly impressive in comparison to the Chuck Schuldiner-esque style he would employ for the ensuing full length. He also employs a handful of absolutely terrible high-pitched screams which are nothing short of completely annoying (sounds like an attempt to pull off what Napalm Death did on "From Enslavement to Obliteration"). The song itself is decent, featuring a handful of cool riffs and ideas, but the poor sound quality drains any real power from the track, especially the rather messy and (sort of) unnecessary blast beats over the song's verse.
The second track is called "When the Fire Burns Over the Sea". Despite the cool song title, this is a completely useless track, which does nothing to enhance the experience of listening to the album. It is not death metal or metal at all, but is actually an experimental track, where Krull cheesily narrates in an insipid moan over some generic industrial death/doom bass riffs. The song really comes across as a completely failed attempt to pull off what Napalm Death did with "Evolved as One", or would go on to to with "Contemptuous". Instead of creating something meaningful, it's really more or less annoying.
The final track is entitled "Humans Lost Humanity" which opens awkwardly with a technical thrash metal riff before slowing down into a completely different riff before the drums even come in, that riff being more doom-oriented, complete with disembodied moans and Kerry King-esque solos. Overall, this song, like "Blue Blood", is drained of any possible strength or power by the absolutely atrocious production. That said, there's really not much strength to be found with this song. Perhaps some of these riffs are actually pretty good, and would come out better in a more quality recording, but what I'm hearing here hardly sounds convincing, or interesting.
Don't waste your time with this, just pick up "Hallucinations" and forget about this one. Quite frankly, I'm amazed they improved so much in a single year, as this music is really quite bad.
This three-track EP offers a good mixture of death metal and grindcore plus some avant-garde metal. Indeed, Atrocity manage to exhibit all these styles already at this early point in their career and prove that they are more than just another death metal band. I can’t compare this stuff directly to the Floridian or Swedish death metal scenes either, as Atrocity had their own interpretation of death metal. The production is very good for a late 80s underground death metal EP. The guitars are little dry perhaps but there’s no lack of power and all instruments can be heard. The bass is distorted, like on many contemporary death metal releases, and this works well since it adds roughness to the sound. Overall this stuff is not as technical as “Hallucinations” or “Todessehnsucht” but the technicality aspect and untypical arrangements are nonetheless already present here.
The best example of the death metal/grindcore mixture is the title track. It combines furious straightforward grindcore blasting with somewhat technical death metal passages. Occasionally it reminds me of a more technical version of “Harmony Corruption” era Napalm Death but the vocals are more varied than those of Barney Greenway. On this track, Alex’s vocals stick to the grindcore formula of both growls and high screams. “When the Fire Burns Over the Seas” is a short and slow avant-garde metal track, just under two minutes in length. It has quite a simple structure, yet the arrangements lean more towards jazz. Alex sings the whole track with clean vocals that have some kind of effect on them. The distorted bass plays an important role in this song and there’s quite a lot of guitar noise in the background, a very untypical track for a death metal band indeed. “Humans Lost Humanity” starts like a death/doom track but then it becomes faster, sounding pretty much like “Halluncinations” era material yet also including some grindcore type blastbeat passages. It’s great to see that this EP got another re-release together with “Hallucinations” and “The Hunt” (an excellent package for everyone who doesn’t own the early Atrocity stuff), as it’s much too good to be forgotten.
So, we have Atrocity’s transition from grindcore to death metal on this single. Production sucks pretty badly, but take into consideration how early in their careers this was released and just let it slide. The guitars are audible, if not sounding twenty feet away from where they should be recording. Bass is usually only audible when the guitars aren’t all over the scene, but sometimes you may get mixed up what is the bass drum being hit and what is a bass being played, so fuck if I know. On that unheard note, the drumming is probably the best part, really drowning out everything else and keeping the rhythm better than the guitars can.
The vocals here are either really pathetic screams, decent growls, or speaking parts. The speaking goes hand-in-hand with some of the better leadwork present on the second track, which, although relatively impressive, doesn’t last long. I’m not the biggest fan of grindish death metal as this is, but it might hold over some people and as a single isn’t really that bad. Nothing is memorable in the slightest bit, but they can really improve off of their formula here. Lyrics are pretty good too, but sadly the lackluster delivery thinks otherwise. Really, it’s quite indecipherable to even care.
Graded as a single recorded with barely any support ahead of time in the bowels of who the hell cares in a time of disgust and cookies by members who’d go on to screw themselves over and return to relative form… this is a damn, dirty single.