AtomicideIn almost twelve years of existence, Chile’s Atomicide have released just two full lengths – 2013’s ‘Spreading the Cult’ and this, ‘Chaos Abomination’. That fact aside, the band have still been consistently active on the demo/split/EP front, the whole time “mining the depths of the death metal underground”. Among their releases are titles such as ‘Total Atomicide’ and ‘Bow Down Before the Ritual War Orgies’, which alone give a pretty clear idea of just how far down in the caverns of nihilistic death metal Atomicide dwell. With their brand new album, the guys make clear that total destruction is their response to humanity from the very start…

No sooner does the Earth collapse and crumble under the weight of an atomic explosion, than we are hurled into a cauldron of ’80s/90’s informed death. It’s all echoing vocals, tormenting guitars and drums which straddle despicable thrash and frantic death territory. More specifically: the production, the abrasive time changes and blunt savagery recall Deicide’s debut whereas the general aura recalls subsequent war metal bands, oozing hate for vast swathes. Second track ‘Pestilential Hammer Blows’ sets the overall agenda of Atomicide pretty succinctly. Pestilential? Yes. Hammering? Likewise. Blows? Well my eardrums definitely feel assaulted after each listen. Even when there’s a hint of the band taking its foot off the pedal during the first half of the disc – like ‘A.T.O.M.I.C.I.D.E.’, which starts slowly – it’s just a matter of time before intense rage returns. Again and again, subtly contorting flows of aggression give way to blocks of obtuse, blustering fret abuse. Only occasionally are we treated to any nuance or shading from the musicians.

As the midpoint of the album goes by, continuing the formula of apocalyptic glee with ‘Under the Spell of Destruction’, there’s really hardly anything to differentiate the first batch of tracks. When ‘Megaton Desolation’ arrives however, an air of uncompromising brilliance dominates from the start. Instead of the formula of brief slow bit/combustion, what we get here are some elite riffs and accompanying cymbal work that are given space to manifest and embed themselves in your consciousness. Obviously it does combust but the descent into insanity is prefigured by a pick grated down a fretboard. Both this aspect and the opening passage suggest a penchant for Revenge on the part of Atomicide’s triumvirate – a fact which hits me at this point of the album each time I listen. Admittedly the Chileans don’t hit anywhere near their deranged heights, and the comparison is perhaps misleading overall, yet there are glimpses. Reinforcing this train of thought is the bulldozing bass break in ‘Poison Graves’ which, again, adds something slightly different.

The opening and the last minute-and-a-half of closer ‘Victorious Over the Ashes’ are the most tantalising parts of all though. Beyond the tried and trusted lunacy is a bit more variation, enabling an atmosphere other than belligerence to shine through with interesting results. However, while these closing asides definitely provide an insight into what more Atomicide are capable of, you can be equally certain that a band of this ilk are highly unlikely to deviate in future from their pure objective of destruction. As a crusher of weaklings, Atomicide’s sophomore does the job well. When it comes to the individual tracks though, I’ll be buggered if I can remember much beyond ‘Megaton Desolation’.

The majority is a blur – exactly as it was meant to be.

(7/10 Jamie)