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Not entirely without merit - 57%

Pestbesmittad, April 5th, 2008

“Willenskraft” sees Atrocity mix quite many musical influences and styles. Even if this is an improvement over “Blut”, the nu metal element is sadly still present in the form of tracks such as “Scorched Breath” and “We Are Degeneration” (a nu/death metal hybrid in the vein of some tracks from the “Blut” album). Also many other tracks contain some nu metal influences. Alex’s vocals sound pretty brutal at times but for the most part his vocals have a dry, almost hardcore like touch to them which I dislike. The production is pretty dry overall and the bass drums have a very sharp sound but I wouldn’t really say that the production is bad, it could've been a bit fatter though.

Among the listenable tracks are “Deliverance” and the title track, which are more in the vein of “Demanufacture” and ”Obsolete” era Fear Factory and thus pretty OK, even though I must say that FF did this kind of stuff better. On “Love is Dead” the band enters goth metal mode and pulls off a lightweight Type O Negative rip-off (including some deep clean vocals a’la Peter Steele), however, in this case I must say that TON did this kind of stuff a lot better. This track is also too long, as there’s way too much repetition of the chorus (i.e. the title of the song). “Love is Dead” definitely lacks darkness, it’s not dark enough to be a real goth metal track.

The first half of “Seal of Secrecy” is very mellow (clean guitars and clean vocals) and laidback. It feels like the band are just jamming away peacefully without any intention of going heavy. Then, at 4:09, heavy guitars kick in and the vocals become screamy. The whole mood of the song suddenly changes from laidback and “sunny” to dark and desperate. The first part of the song does nothing at all for me but the heavy part is nice, it would have been better if they’d emphasised the heavy aspect of the song more. “For Ever and a Day” does an OK job of combining Fear Factory type choppy riffing with good sad guitar melodies. The only thing I really dislike here is the clean vocal repetition of the track title in the chorus.

It goes without saying that in my opinion the best tracks are the most brutal ones: “Blood-Stained Prophecy”, “Down Below” and “The Hunt”. “The Hunt” can also be found in an unholy version on the “The Hunt” EP. The difference between the two versions is that the unholy version has more brutal vocals. “Willenskraft” adequately represents a former death metal band keeping up with the times in the mid 90s. There’s something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue. The problem is that Atrocity can't reach the level of some of the bands that they've clearly been influenced by.

If you like a hybrid of different metal styles in one album, then “Willenskraft” might appeal to you a lot. However, to me personally these kinds of hybrid albums are seldom successful. That goes for this one as well, especially since the nu metal/Fear Factory influences are the dominant ones and I don't like the vocals that much either.