Review Summary: Bread and Butter thrash with little innovation despite good musicianship.
Atrophy was an American thrash metal band hailing from Tucson Arizona. Initially active from 1986-1990, the band existed during the peak of the genre at a time when the scene was becoming overcrowded with smaller bands vying for notoriety. Like so many other so called "second-wave" thrash bands, Atrophy's influences naturally included Slayer and Exodus, and the sound and vibe of this record reflects that. Many would be quick to dismiss this band as just another average thrash band with a few good songs, however those with an ear for good thrash might just hear otherwise.
Despite being a relatively new band at the time of this album’s recording, Atrophy sounded like a well-knit and tight group. Everything is there; heavy riffs, Blazing solos, Tight Drumming, and audible bass. However the vocals like so many other thrash bands, are quite different, and by different I mean rough. The delivery of vocalist Brian Zimmerman reminds one of Testament vocalist Chuck Billy, though that may be giving him too much credit. They are rough and most certainly hit-or-miss, but the vocals do mold well with the mood of the music, bringing more of an aggressive feel to the record. The album also boasts some exceptional production for a debut album, with experienced producer Bill Metoyer getting the most out of what i can only assume must have been a small recording budget.
With the information above, it would appear that the band had everything that a thrash unit should have; Musical talent, aggressive vocals, and good production, right? Eh, not so much. The album lacks innovation, which in its self is not such a bad thing. Most thrash bands aren't really known for innovative song-writing anyway. The problem with this album is that it's garden variety thrash. While it is certainly heavy and original material, you get a sense of familiarity when listening to it, like you have already heard it a dozen times before. Despite this familiarity, the music is enjoyable and heavy, with a strong and obvious Slayer influence. As a matter of fact, it’s not that strange that this band would sound like Slayer, seen as how the album's producer Bill Metoyer was a sound engineer on several early slayer recordings.
The overall feel of the record remains very much the same as many other thrash bands. Intense and energetic performances coupled with bitter and bleak subject matter largely dominates the album. The band is quick to bring attention to subjects such as war, organized religion and drug addiction, and because of this the lyrical content seems rather socially aware. I'll make no objection to these topics, as I would much rather hear about these issues than someone’s fondness for greed and sex, (modern music) however I’m starting to notice a pattern in thrash pertaining to subject matter. Thankfully the band breaks away from the normal bleak topics on songs like "Beer Bong", which as one can imagine is about partying and consuming copious amounts of alcohol.
All things considered, this IS a rather good debut from Atrophy. The band did a lot of thing well, however it was painfully apparent that they had much to learn. It may lack innovation, but the album still thrashes hard enough to please metal-heads with an ear for old-school thrash.
- Chemical Dependency
- Preacher, Preacher
- Socialized Hate
- Urban Decay
Brian Zimmerman - vocals
Chris Lykins - guitar
Rick Skowron - guitar
James Gulotta - bass
Tim Kelly - drums
Produced by: Bill Metoyer, Atrophy
Engineered by: Bill Metoyer
Mixed by: Bill Metoyer
Cover Art by: Brian Anderson
Label: Roadrunner Records