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Atomwinter - Atomic Death Metal

Atomic Death Metal
by Dorothy Cheng at 08 April 2013, 2:11 PM

A lot of times, classic albums are genre-defying, especially where Metal is concerned. What I mean by “genre-defying” is when a band delves into the styles and feels of other subgenres and incorporates those influences into their music, making their album a true metal package. Just like ATHEIST’s “Piece Of Time” and METALLCA’s “…And Justice for All”, ATOMWINTER’s “Atomic Death Metal” is heading in the same direction. A self-proclaimed Death Metal band, ATOMWINTER has described their influences to stem from old school Death Metal bands such as BOLT THROWER and ASPHYX. However, listening to the album, one can’t help but feel that ATOMWINTER is more experimental than they think.

The album opens with a very classic Death Metal style: chugging and relentless rhythm. This infallible sound, coupled with decent production, instantly makes the album appealing as a Death Metal record. In my experience, those searching for good Death Metal records base their selections on several criteria, which usually are: speed, vocals, and riffs. “Atomic Death Metal” fulfils all these requirements and more by expanding the basics of Death Metal to incorporate, as mentioned earlier, influences from other subgenres. The choruses have a strong Black Metal influence in the way the chords progress, creating a soaring yet heavily distorted effect which works to balance out the song’s very rhythm and riff-based verses. The breakdowns or bridges on the other hand, have a very strong Doom Metal influence. The band has no problem with speed, but on certain songs, they choose to turn the speed down drastically, resulting in some really heavy breakdowns, yet still heavy and brutal Death Metal record.

Vocalist Christopher L. deserves special mention for his expert technique and skilful usage of his naturally thick and full voice. Much like David Vincent of MORBID ANGEL and George Fisher of CANNIBAL CORPSE, Christopher L. has a very natural, deep, and full baritone / bass voice. This adds to the rhythmic emphasis of the entire album, and his mean growls and screams highlight every peak point of the songs.

That being said, all of that contributes to rather drawn-out songs. On average, each song is around five and a half minutes. Coupled with the fact that there are no solos on this album, listeners end up wishing certain songs are shorter. Furthermore, ATOMWINTER has very rhythm-based songs. The riffs are spell-bindingly solid and heavy and the rhythm is very well-synchronised and flows like a river, yet all this results in a very stripped-down form of Death Metal that discards the necessity for overt technicality.

In that sense, “Atomic Death Metal” is more “classic” and “pure” than most Death Metal records, but it is also more experimental and less technical. For example, “Howling Winds” is a song that expertly showcases the band’s emphasis on and talent with rhythm and worked very well in showcasing the band’s brutal edge. However, certain songs despite being great rhythm-crushers with concrete grooves, fail to inspire a real sense of melody. Despite that, the elements came together harmoniously and created a listenable; “Atomic Death Metal” is special in its own way, bringing a very raw and real form of Death Metal to listeners. They may not have much to offer in terms of technicality as compared to other bands, but for an all-round badass record, it does the trick.

3 Star Rating

1. Sentinels of Doom
2. Ghouls of the Pit
3. Entering the Gates
4. In Remembrance of Death
5. The Crypt is Calling
6. Howling Winds
7. Hordes of Devastation
8. Desecration of Dead
9. Necrotic Way of Life
Martin S. – Bass
Norbert S. – Guitars
Benni G. – Guitars
Christopher L. – Vocals
Patrick W. – Drums
Record Label: Black Skull Records


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