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Atoll – Zoopocalypse

by Santiago Puyol at 23 December 2019, 11:37 PM

Coming from Phoenix, Arizona, ATOLL is a Brutal Death Metal band and has released its third album, "Zoopocalypse," following 2016’s debut, "The Gathering Swarm," and 2017’s "Fallout Frenzy."

"Zoopocalypse" is a dense opener, featuring some great riffing. Wade Taylor gets to play around with enough variation in his intense, harsh vocals, adding a bit of tonal variety, something that will be missing on most of the other tracks. Some Black Metal undertones bleed onto their Brutal Death style, and guitarist Christopher Nick and Spencer Fergunson lay down a bit of atonal shredding for fun. "Ripped Apart by Test Tube Monkeys" comes next, trading some groovy riffs atop thrashy drumming.

Faint melodic guitar line lay on the background of "Work Whores," bringing a bit of a horror movie atmosphere to the track. A random horse neighing sample happens to be an example of the band’s unusual sense of humor. Cameron Broomfield gets to shine with his neat, nasty bass grooves, anchoring the song with a fun, memorable songwriting bit. The guitar picking on the song’s breakdown simply is sick.

"HIV(e) 5" is another groovy track that plays with tempo in an interesting way and has a nice bass-led breakdown. It features a little more vocal variety than previous tracks, saving it from a monotone feel. Meanwhile, fly buzzing sound samples open up "Overgorged In-Gestation." Broomfield’s grooves and psychedelic textures fill in the blanks for harsh, aggressive outbursts of distortion as Andy Luffey goes almost tribal behind the drum kit.

"Skinwalker" is little more than a fast-paced headbanger with great riffing, while "Krockodil Mile" brings back Atoll’s quirks with its amusing, weird sampling at the start. It also features tasty guitar work and a solo with a strong, exotic feel.

"Polar Bear Affair" and "Deepwater Blow-Up" happen to be the more interesting tracks on the second half, and the only ones that add anything new to "Zoopocalypse." The former is possibly the most dynamic track vocally, truly capturing insanity on its abrasive sound. The latter functions as a highlight for the whole band, as having some additional length allows them to build tension. A couple of fun, psychedelic bass jams add flavour to this peculiar closer.

Although not as noisy as other albums on the genre, the production is simply adequate and nothing special. At times, grooves do get lost in the mix, hurting the overall experience.

Overall, "Zoopocalypse" is a fun record when you want something brutal. The riffs will make you bang your head along and the grooves are simply tight. The band is clearly talented and capable of playing fast and intricate stuff. Still, it could use a little more variety both musically and vocally, especially considering how monotone things get, exceptions being few and far between.

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 5
Production: 6

3 Star Rating

1. Zoopocalypse
2. Ripped Apart by Test Tube Monkeys
3. Work Whores
4. HIV(e) 5
5. Overgorged In-Gestation
6. Skinwalker
7. Krockodil Mile
8. Get Flocked
9. Polar Bear Affair
10. Skeet Sharks
11. Deepwater Blow-Up (Into Crypts of Manta Rays)
Andy Luffey – Drums
Cameron Broomfield – Bass
Christopher Nick – Guitars
Spencer Furguson – Guitars
Wade Taylor – Vocals
Record Label: Gore House Productions


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