Atomwinter are a new name to me, originating from the Saxony area I gather. Lovely cover to this, all stark black and white and highly detailed promising some old school styled death metal with Catacombs, and really that’s kind of what we get.

Slow, ominous intro aside, the first notes of the title track simply roar out of the darkness, reaching for your throat. At once several things are apparent; the clear and very modern production sound making the darkness shine rather than coated with muck, the relentless drum driven rhythm, the classic and rather good vocals growling and howling away, the actually quite clean though not sterile sounding guitars. It’s all there and as tight and heavy as you could wish for a death metal band. I guess you’d say there is a solid foundation of Bolt Thrower here, just with the crust removed and a cleaning brush taken to the muck encrusted wheels. In its place you have the feel of some of the more technical older bands, maybe something a little like Asphyx or even maybe Suffocation. Every now and then the tempo slides into doom/death territory but it always picks up and winds itself into the faster tempo.

That basically is where this album lies; mid to fast paced, drum heavy death metal that pushes on like a new steel snow plough welded to a locomotive. Relentless is a word that stays with me over multiple replays, heavy, hard, committed. All the good things. The problem when it comes down to it though is that I guess I prefer things more grimy, loose and old school in my death metal. I also look for a lot more variation in rhythm, riff and tempo. Good as Atomwinter are I get lost somehow, wandering over a battlefield where all the features begin to look the same. The album stretches out before me, and I just trudge on.

Sorry to sound negative. There is nothing wrong with the band, they clearly know what they are about and are a solid crew. Just for me the song writing lets down their potential here. Worth checking out though if modern death metal inspired by all the right sources is your thing. Just not for me.

(6/10 Gizmo)