Jul 262023

If we were health-and-safety regulators we’d require people to don flame-retardant suits and headgear fed by big oxygen tanks before listening to the album we’re about to premiere in full (it would also be a good idea to dig up whatever spells you can come by that are designed to ward off demons). But we’re not regulators of any kind, so just forget about self-protection and get ready to be torched by one of the most explosive and exhilarating albums you’re likely to hear all year.

The band is a Swedish trio from Stockholm named Atonement, and the album Sadistic Invaders is their full-length debut, which will be released in just a couple of days by Dying Victims Productions. When you hear it you wouldn’t guess that these three barbarians aren’t yet in their 20s, age-wise, and thus it’s even more mind-boggling to consider what they might do next to follow up a truly mind-boggling debut album.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Let’s focus instead on what we have in front of us right now. The PR materials portray the band as “dead-ringers for juiced-up and jackhammering deathrash of a most mid-‘80s vintage,” which is true, but we’d venture to sum it up in a different way — as maniacal demon-thrash that blows open the gates of Hell.

Atonement begin their sadistic invasion with a song that could hardly be better-named for what it is — “Hellish Delight“. It truly is a hellish delight to hear, and it sounds like the band were expressing their own hellish delight in writing and performing it.

The music is a full-bore riot — drum-pistons hammering, razor-edged riffing maniacally slashing and roiling, and the words coming from a screaming throat that sounds like it’s being garrotted with barbed wire. Fast, fiery, and evil to the core, the song puts the spurs to the listener’s adrenaline, and kicks even harder with a crazed guitar solo in the midst of the riffing’s delirious throb.

In many ways “Hellish Delight” sums up the album experience as a whole, introducing listeners to the brazen and broiling yet dirty tone of the guitars, the neck-snapping momentum of the drums, the freaked-out joy of the soloing, and the savage ugliness of the vocals, but also to the band’s ability to shroud the music in aromas of sulphur as their hellfires blaze. It sounds authentically devilish, as well as explosive.

However, Atonement bring hell to earth in other ways — portraying not only rampant demon ecstasies but also music of infernal haughtiness and fearful dread, especially when they ease up the pressure of their cloven hooves on the gas pedal and begin swaggering and lurching. They also use other techniques of quick tempo-shifting and morphing rhythmic patterns that include punkish grooves, bracing gallops, and fast, battering fills to avoid the trap of sameness.

But for the most part, the music is a blown-out race that’s hot as hell, geared toward leaving listeners gasping for air. It’s also the kind of music that feels berserk, and yet taut rather than sloppy in its performance. These invaders quite clearly have top-shelf technical chops, but use them to make the music even more wild and eye-popping.

There’s another key ingredient that’s abundant throughout the album — the ability to cook up riffs that are big head-hooks, in addition to being thoroughly vicious and relentlessly electrifying. As the PR materials rightly proclaim, the music is “dizzying yet addictive”. Not for naught does it come recommended for fans of Deathhammer, Division Speed, and Norway’s late/great Condor.



Niklas Saari – Bass
Mille Lundström – Drums
Ludvig Rösth – Guitars, Vocals

Adorned with cover art by Nino Andaresta, Sadistic Invaders will be released by Dying Victims on July 28th, on vinyl LP, CD, and digital formats.



 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>



This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.