Album Review: Atrament – “Eternal Downfall” LP

Artwork by Stephen Wilson of Unknown Relic

This is more like it. Recently I had a massive crisis of faith and whiffed on a review where I bit off more than I could chew, genre-wise. Not this time. Not today. Who needs half-assed major label forest-folk, anyway?

While combing through the promos I received, I saw the light in the tunnel. That light is from Oakland, California and they refer to themselves collectively as Atrament. Their one-sheet refers to Wolfpack and not Wolfbrigade, which makes all the difference in the world to me — Johnnson vs. Micke is a no-brainer. While I’m sure these folks have spent quite a few hours bounding over  A New Dawn Fades LP, the real upfront influence is the almighty Skitsystem. I’m sure these guys have pored over the Profithysteri EP and the Ondskans Ansikte 10″ as if they were the goddamned Torah.

Skitsystem was always more brutal and cavemanish than Wolfpack, who could get fleet-fingered and rip off a good approximation of Maiden solos over tuned-down Cimex riffs when the situation presented itself. And Eternal Downfall is pure caveman. It doesn’t have the swing of Wolfpack, but they make up for it by spicing up the formula with Bolt Thrower and Autopsy tendencies, especially in the vocals. They’re not afraid to slow down the frantic pace either, the end of the track “Wretched Apparition” gets downright death-doom.

Normally, I’m not the biggest fan of the self-described “blackened d-beat” since it ends up watering down the punk or the black metal so much that it’s an absolutely worthless exercise in multiple genres. Atrament used blastbeats as the whipped cream on top of the pannkaka, and tremolo picking as the ligonberry on the meatball. If you were to remove those sections, you’d still have a great punk record. Also, the production of the LP by Greg Wilkinson is thick as hell, harkening back to the time when Distortion Records were on top of the world. If you’re like me and still mourn the dissolution of Stormcrow, this is your new favorite Bay Area band.

– Buck D

Eternal Downfall LP is set for release on March 4, 2016. The album is currently available for preorder in the U.S. through Broken Limbs and Argento Records in Europe. For more information on Atrament, visit the band’s official Facebook page.


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