Thrash Hits

September 23rd, 2010

Album: Atrocity – After The Storm

Atrocity feat. Yasmin
After The Storm
Napalm Records
06 September 2010

by Tom Dare

Making a play for the least appropriate name in metal, Atrocity return with album number eleven. Anyone thinking that the band members’ time off in Leaves’ Eyes might see them move back to their death metal roots can think again. Anyone thinking they may have used up many of their best ideas in their side-project is closer to the mark. In fact, you almost wonder why they bother with the project.

After starting out life as a death metal band, Atrocity went quiet around the turn of the century before coming back as a very different beast, entering drastically more melodic territory. This lead to the formation of goth metal band Leaves’ Eyes, who are actually rather good. Vocalist Alexander Krull recruited his wife for the requisite clean, mournful female singing that counterbalanced his own death growls. The band appear to be doing well, touring Europe with Kamelot earlier in the year (where Mrs Krull nearly led a certain writer – ahem – into the stereotypical patronising chauvinism that male metal writers sometimes drift into). So it seems completely bizarre why the supposedly main band should basically decide to release a folk-infused version of the side-project.

The line-up is essentially identical, only with Mrs Liv Krull being replaced by Ms Yasmin Krull – Alexander’s sister. Not that it makes a huge amount of difference, really. Her vocals are vastly stronger and more interesting than his (just like Leaves’ Eyes), the guitars suffer somewhat with a lack of ideas (just like Leaves’ Eyes, only you notice it more) and it’s really all about the other aspects of the music (just like Leaves’ Eyes, only with the gothic symphonics replaced by gothic folk-esque sounds). And right away the problems begin.

The immediate problem is the lack of pace. Of the eleven tracks, only three possess any kind of impetus or drive to them, and unsurprisingly two of them are the best songs on the album. ‘Call Of Yesteryear’, sounding somewhere between Suidakra and a less-proggy Amorphis, has a real zest to it and some rather gigantic hooks, while ‘Black Mountain’ brings back the balls missing from much of the album and is slightly reminiscent of recent Rotting Christ, only without the evil. ‘Transilvania’ injects some badly needed pace into a ponderous second half in danger of stumbling under its own girth, but lacks the hooks or power of the previous two.

This is their other band. Can you believe Atrocity are worse than this?

As for the rest of After The Storm, it all sounds like a more miserable, less credible, less interesting and downright torpid version of Eluveitie’s slower bits, with Yasmin’s vocals doing their best to rescue what is an otherwise soporific affair only to have her work undermined by her brother. The male vocals just do not have the strength of tone or harmonic understanding to do anything positive here, and there are some staggeringly clumsy moments during the title track that show this up badly. When doing the cookie monster they’re fine, when trying to be dark and serious they just sound bollocks.

Some of the slower moments aren’t genuinely bad, but the overall effect is turgid, lacks interesting ideas and is generally boring. If Atrocity had stuck to trying to write bombastic and catchy-as-fuck songs like ‘Call Of Yesteryear’, you could understand their stylistic decisions. As it is, you wonder why on earth they bother with the old project at all- if this is the best they can do, they’re better off sticking to Leaves’ Eyes.

2.5/6

Sounds like: Suidakra, Eluveitie, a folk version of Leaves’ Eyes
Top tracks:
Call Of Yesterday, Black Mountain

Atrocity – After The Storm tracklisting:
A New Arrival
Call Of Yesteryear
After The Storm
Silvan Spirit
Black Mountain
As The Sun Kissed The Sky
Transilvania
The Flight Of Abbas Ibn Firnas
Goddess Of Fortune And Sorrow
The Otherworld
Eternal Nightside

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