Atrophy Asylum

Atrophy – Asylum (Album Review)

Atrophy band 2024

While Thrash Metal bands like Slayer, Metallica, Megadeth, and Anthrax make up the Big Four, there are plenty of others well worth mentioning. Of course there are Overkill, Exodus, and Testament, but a slew more that popped up throughout the ‘80s. Hundreds upon hundreds to run through, out of the Arizona desert was Atrophy.

Formed back in ’86, Atrophy recorded a couple impressive demos, signed on with Roadrunner Records, and in ’88 put out Socialized Hate. An album not to be missed, Socialized Hate is top-notch Thrash produced by Bill Metoyer (famous for working with everyone from Slayer to Morbid Angel); plus CD collectors are well aware that the first pressing is highly coveted. From here they put out a strong sophomore album in ’90 called Violent by Nature, however, had some obstacles to overcome thereafter. First, Guitarist Chris Lykins left to attend medical school, and then Roadrunner Records opted to part ways with the band. Unfortunately, by the mid-90s, Atrophy had all but dissolved.

Leaving the band somewhere in the footnotes of Heavy Metal history, true fans never forgot the two albums they did release, and that is why it became quite enticing in 2015 to hear that Atrophy were reforming. Promisingly, there were reports of new music in the works, but a few more bumps in the road followed, leaving us with years passing and nothing to show for it. Nonetheless, original Vocalist Brian Zimmerman has kept the dream alive, recruited an entire new lineup, and now Atrophy is set to put out their first studio album in 34 years.

Entitling Asylum, Atrophy’s comeback album is available March 15, 2024 through Massacre Records, and is a bit different than you might remember them. Now, it is important to remember that the last time we heard Atrophy it was a completely different era. In that time sounds have changed and recording techniques have altered. So, if you are expecting the same feeling as Socialized Hate or Violent by Nature, rethink your expectations. Absent Chris Lykins, who was a key songwriter for Atrophy back in the day, the modern lineup around Zimmerman is also completely fresh. Breaking it all down, the new Atrophy surrounding Zimmerman includes Lead Guitarist Nathan Montalvo, Rhythm Guitarist Mark Coglan, Bassist Josh Gibbs, with Jonas Shütz handling the drums. A solid group of players individually, together, they conjure up some electrifying Metal that is quite potent.

Putting together nine tracks for Asylum, each is saturated with razor sharp riffs, tight rhythms, and an attack that is stirring. Produced by Alex Parra, what is captured is a modern Thrash Metal sound with a respectfully understanding of more old school moods. What this means is that Asylum’s production is indeed clean and amplified, but separated enough that you can hear the blistering speed without getting a headache. A factor that is vital, it all allows each track a chance to get the attention it deserves.

Looking at everything as a whole, the context of Asylum is very on par with Atrophy’s history; talking about society, hypocrisy, and the corruption engulfing us. Doing so with conviction, the power behind the music is not superficial, but something deeply seeded within each of the performers. Giving you some examples of this fury, tracks that immediately stand out include “Seeds of Sorrow,” “Distortion,” and “American Dream.” Each showing off some outstanding riffs, the guitar solos are also nothing to laugh about too. Simply put, they are well-written, performed with tendency, and set the stage for an entire album of consistency.

Overall, while Atrophy may look different than what you remember, their resurrection is not without inspiration. Putting together one of the best Thrash Metal records in the last few years, Cryptic Rock gives Asylum 4 out of 5 stars.

Atrophy Asylum
Atrophy Asylum / Massacre Records (2024)

Like the in-depth, diverse coverage of Cryptic Rock? Help us in support to keep the magazine going strong for years to come with a small donation.

No comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *