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Atomicaust - A Lot of Nothing 1991, album review

Band - Atomicaust , Album  -  A Lot of Nothing 1991.
Country: USA, Genre: Thrash Metal


This act were one of the many who jumped the classic thrash wagon in the late-80’s as at that time thrash was still the talk of the day pretty much. It was buried later under piles of groove and other numetal innovations, but the underground resistance, which eminent members were also our friends here, stayed alive longer.

The debut demo was a really cool affair with a characteristic, heavy potent sound recalling Infernal Majesty’s “None Shall Defy” and the Brazilians MX’s “Mental Slavery”, but with more technical guitar work than both. Then came this “Intense on the Brain” mindfucker, the title-track being a most tantalizing showpiece of technical schizoid, labyrinthine thrash accompanied by a short balladic respite (“Reach”).

Then came nothing, I mean the demo reviewed here, and it showed the guys spacing out even more, sometimes beyond the strict boundaries of thrash. Still, the final result is nothing short of outstanding the opening “From Shallows to Fathoms” alone worth the price of admission, a bizarre jumpy shredder with super-technical “skirmishes” ala Realm and Deathrow duelling with heavy stomping additives and eccentric speedy bass-driven jolts, the cool mean-ish semi-clean vocals trying to sound as dramatic as possible in order to match the very quirky musical scenery which, taken in its entirety, doesn’t quite resemble anything out there.

Expect orthodox crossover strokes and very hectic jazzy breaks to add more to the otherwordly nature of this most diverse saga that carries on with the stolen from the earlier demo etude “Reach” which grows into jumps and jolts galore served by the thrash/crossover extravaganza that is the title-track which also contains some really hard-hitting thrash with more puzzling riff-spirals, virtuoso lead sections, and merry uplifting speedy dashes the latter taken straight from the Lawnmower Deth and The Accused textbooks; totally surreal stuff with the befuddling time-signatures flowing from all sides replaced by a quiet lead-driven balladic finale. Comes another “Reach”, a 4-min nerve-scratcher with aggressive pounds interlaced with more perplexing technicality and accentuated bassisms, the lead guitarist shining bright for the umpteenth time although it’s the visionary complex riffage that captures the imagination the strongest as there are so may ingenious original riff-patterns to be encountered within a such short span of time. Time to relax with “Intense on the Brain”, a 1.5-min crossover joke having nothing to do with the number of the same title from the preceding demo, and with the The Beatles cover of “Polythene Pam” which is easy to recognize despite the frivolous crossover aura and the next in line stylish lead insertion.

There’s so much to savour within these 15.5-min that the demo title can’t be any more paradoxical, intentionally of course; this is a most eventful concoction of styles and influences which amazingly sounds absolutely compelling and absorbing as even the most mind-scratching moments will be swallowed without any problems due to the optimistic atmosphere that wraps everything, and greatly eases the process. It’s a fairly unique listen that has its rightful place among left-hand-path recordings from around the same time like Omnitron’s “Masterpeace”, Transilience’s “Mouthful of Buildings”, Headcrasher’s “Introspection”, Jester Beast’s “Poetical Freakscream”, also the unjustly forgotten, very obscure heroes from France Les Gnomes, etc. although this effort has not much to do with Voivod, the tangible influence on most of those other albums. The guys were going their own individualistic way, and only god knows how far they were going to reach up this most unusual musical trajectory…

They may have perched on the very top of Mount Bizarro in subsequent years, but this must have happened under a different “cloak” as the band changed their name to Nervewomb a few years later, and had reportedly altered their style to something equally as weird, but outside the metal spectre. Well, I would still be more than curious to check out what this new/old “womb” has been able to bear…

Last edited by ketstaco (2017-11-24 21:19:36)


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