Alex Krull, the only remaining original member of Germany’s Atrocity, has been all over the Metal map. Atrocity has played everything from Grindcore to Folk Metal to Gothic Metal to shit that can only be described as “Experimental,” for the lack of a better word. Okkult, though, rests primarily in the gray area between Gothic Metal and Death Metal. Where Atrocity shines is when things stick primarily to the Death Metal style. The straight-forward Death Metal on Okkult is brutal and aggressive. When Alex and company start kicking ass, my neck starts making more snap, crackle and pop noises than a fucking bowl of Rice Krispies. The Gothic Metal influence is on the schizophrenic side. On one hand, there are bits that sound like Horror soundtrack parts that heighten the evil sounding Death Metal and makes it more potent. On the other side of the coin are the bits that sound like rejected parts from the Nightmare Before Christmas soundtrack, which are campy and distract from some otherwise good Death Metal. These parts are thankfully rare, only coming into play on two or three songs. I liked that Atrocity wove in some interesting atmospheric stuff into the mix, but mostly stuck to their strengths. Okkult never strayed too far from the reservation and while it had some interesting flourishes, it was pretty orthodox compared to a lot of their back catalog. Hopefully Atrocity will keep up with this formulation and refine away the campy stuff. One of the things I’ve always disliked about this band is the fact that each record tends to be radically different than the one before it. Atrocity did an album of reworked Pop songs, if you remember. If that wasn’t a nasty surprise, I don’t know what is. Alex Krull has changed styles so many times that you wonder if he is in a constant state of identity crisis. If anything, Okkult is a mostly solid album that does a lot of ass-kicking. Hopefully, their next one will do the same. Knowing Atrocity, though, means that there is no guarantee of that actually happening.
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