By Dr. Abner Mality

Germany’s ATROCITY have been pounding it out for a very long time now, but they always struck me as a kind of erratic band. One album’s ferocious, the next sad and weepy, and sometimes we get a combination of the two. “Okkult III” is one of the better ones and I think it’s because this time they are tightly focused on a classic death metal sound from the early 90’s. Although there are still symphonic moments here, it’s a brutal album.

Opener “Desecration of God” piddles around with horror movie sound effects that come across like squeaking rats, but finally gets down to business. Much of this album reminds me of DEATH in their “Spiritual Healing” days, with doses of DEICIDE and fellow Germans MORGOTH liberally added. The songs alternate between straight up, stripped down early 90’s brutality and longer tunes where orchestration and sound effects play a bigger part. “Fire Ignites”, “Priest of Plague” and the very DEICIDE-ish “Lycanthropeia” are simple death metal rippers and all the better because of it. Alexander Krull’s vocal growls are much in the vein of fellow Kraut Marc Grewe of MORGOTH.

As far as the more symphonic tracks go, “Bleeding for Blasphemy” is the easy winner. This starts with chords that are purely majestic, ably boosted by synth orchestration, and leading into some grinding riffs. Not as successful is “Malicious Sukkubus”, where the symphonic touches and Halloween sound effects are pretty overdone. Veering back to the positive side of the ledger is the closer “Teufelsmarsch”, which has some cool almost industrial percussion and atmospheric keys that are well integrated into a pounding death metal framework.

ATROCITY has been a band that’s been easy to overlook, but don’t make that mistake with “Okkult III”. This one has the true bite of death metal’s most classic period.