Out of the extreme darkness that lurks in the shadows of Oakland, CA comes a crusty blackened group with plenty of unforgiving music to offer listeners. Atrament is a band that may at first present a very straightforward extreme sound on their debut album, “Eternal Downfall,” but if you listen long enough you can hear some diverse sounding agony and aggression.
With a d-beat combine harvester like style that grinds feverishly away at thunderous compositions and vocals that unleash growls of blackened death terror, the band takes listeners into a world of endless chaos. From the album’s open song, “No Beyond,” I felt consumed by an unforgiving presence that was perfectly captured in the album’s recording quality. Atrament digs deep in the extreme earth to exhume a vicious style of music and the songs on this album maintain a consistent mentality. Once you start, there is no stop to the instrumental onslaught.
Following the opening song, I really became interested in the group’s mix of crust and blackened death. Their vocalist is unbelievable with his growls and the recording of his vocals allows listeners to vividly hear his talents. Also, the guitar riffs are simply brutal... Just imagine an axe wielding demon hacking away at corpses and that is how I would describe the guitar sound on this album. Each distorted riff compliments the band’s overall aggressive nature and the attitude that comes from the guitar playing makes the music demand attention. Tracks such as “Aberration” and “Consumed” display a tight sounding band that is almost trying to narrate the end of the world by writing this type of sinister sounding music.
Another area of the album that in a way solidifies the overall sound is the rhythm section. For a band that is trying to convey such an extreme sounding message, they need that solid backbone from their drummer and bass player. I would say that Atrament’s drummer and bass player perform at a top notch level and do their best to keep that hellish adrenaline pumping style moving ahead. “Hericide” is one track that I think captures the solid sound that originates from the band’s rhythmic backbone.
Overall, the band just pounds away with no regret and no remorse to really break the silence by offering such extreme sounding tracks. I will be honest, some tracks start to sound a bit repetitive and that happens with a group that is writing music in a style that has countless other types who write in a similar vein. However, there are tracks on this album that in my opinion are at the top level of crust and blackened extreme music. Following the track, “Rotting Twilight,” I felt the band closed out the album with some brilliant ideas that if you listened to carefully, contained a vast amount of unique creativity. The last song, “Dusk Abuse,” is a cinematic mind altering guitar driven piece that wraps up the whole intense musical journey in a way that words can not describe and can only be felt when listening.
I think it is great to see another Bay Area extreme band put out a powerful release that hits at the core of extreme musical expression. Atrament joins the ranks with their debut album, “Eternal Downfall,” alongside many other top acts from the region. Hope to hear more from these dudes in the future! Hopefully mankind is still around...
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