Atomizer - _The End of Forever_
(End All Life, 2000)
by: Alvin Wee (7 out of 10)
Taking off from countrymates Destroyer 666 and Bestial Warlust, Atomizer do much to add to an outsider's impression that retro-thrash is all the Aussie hordes are capable of coming up with. No more, no less, for the music is disappointingly bland considering the hype worked up by the label for this release. Generic rock 'n' roll-tinged thrash riffage combining with even more typical black metal vocal rasps don't make for much reviewing material in the wake of precedents Bewitched and Inferno (who nonetheless don't rise very much above the same banality). However, the sheer energy and liveliness of tracks like "Somebody's Gonna Die Tonight" do get one's head moving a little, the pummelling brutality of Sud's drums warring deliciously with the razor-sharp hooks of Justin's riffing. Adopting a tongue-in-cheek rock 'n' roll ethic benefits the music with a rollicking groove lacking in the more "serious" bands (read: Suicidal Winds), which partially saves the record from joining the heap of discarded retro-madness-era Necropolis releases. By the same token, the lyrics take this "fuck you, we're evil" sensibility a tad too far: phrases like "When I burn your house down just for fun / Yeah that's fuckin' evil" don't do much to help the already-precarious situation. On a positive note, musicianship seems to be of the highest calibre, the band's tightness contributing much to the energy of the record. Rather than taking the typical lo-fi approach, the production team's choice of crystal clear instrumentation also adds a punchiness to the material that adds much to the energetic playing. Kudos to End All Life for a highly impressive layout: this vinyl-only release boasts a glossy gatefold cover with great cover art, and opening it reveals glorious full-color photos of the band with lyrics printed alongside, presented with a brilliance and clarity as yet unrivalled in the industry. Surely this ranks alongside one of the most appealing pieces in terms of packaging, surprising for a label renowned for obscure B&W affairs, which explains the relatively high print run of 666 hand-numbered copies -- an impressive number considering EAL's tendency to sell-out their limited-to-100 titles even before their official release. On the whole, Atomizer don't quite match up to the more established acts Down Under, but neither are they to be put aside as failures. Until their next effort, Atomizer can't quite hold a candle to my favourites Swordmaster, but most old-school headbangers won't be disappointed with this very promising outing at all. Not many copies left as usual, but write to:

Contact: End All Life, B.P. 4, 86 281 St. Benoit Cedex, France

(article published 25/10/2000)

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