Atonement – Sadistic Invaders (Dying Victims Productions)Monday, 24th July 2023
Amidst all this genre blending that occurs in the modern heavy scene, there are some musicians content to just rip out a raw, pure form of expression that slices through your soul. Swedish trio Atonement embraces that rough, razor edge philosophy on their debut album Sadistic Invaders – containing ten tracks of wickedly evil blackened thrash that pushes the accelerator, turns the heat on full blast, and doesn’t relent in terms of aggression even in the more controlled passages. This isn’t a thinking man’s band – the hooks pack a wallop, getting to the point quickly, executing ideas in a similar blitzkrieg fashion before moving on to the next salvo.
Caustic screams at rapid fire pacing sit over the top of scattershot rhythms and relentless bass/drum work, although when the musicians settle into a mid-tempo transitional sequence for brief moments of “Lust for Sin” or “Unholy Sorcery” you get a bit more of their melodic sensibilities. Added female screams punctuate the intro to “Hellish Delight”, guitarist Ludvig Rösth shattering the sky with his blackened, raspy roar that contains early Teutonic thrash influences (probably more Tom ‘Angelripper’ than Mille or Schmier). “Evil Minds” has a familiar early Testament / “The Haunting” edge to its opening guitar part before the locomotive tempo fluctuates between semi-controlled verses and chaotic thrash insanity. The production values and dirty tones will make most think they are listening to a record from 1983-1985, not something in 2023 – which can be valuable to some, a stamp of approval to the authenticity of Atonement to where their hearts lie. The drenched in reverb vocal technique can also be a love it (or leave it) aspect to these songs, but on the positive front drummer Mille Lundström has the ability to inject that solid mid-tempo groove in spots to break up his natural faster snare/kick or fluid tom roll activities.
Sadistic Invaders showcases Atonement in that early thrash mold when punk meets metal for chaotic results. Should work for some, while others may like a bit more polish or strong musicianship qualities behind the songwriting.