Atrament – Eternal Downfall (Broken Limbs)

Genre: D-beat/Extreme Metal

If you thought d-beat couldn’t get any nastier, any gnarlier, then Atrament are a wake-up call. The Oakland mob trawl through the primordial ooze of Swedish death metal, dragging their crusty feet through a mire of rotting riffs, and reach down into the darkness to pluck out songs like Hericide and Aberration.

The ferocious pace, the unrelenting attack, of d-beat luminaries like Wolfpack surges through the band’s entire debut, but Atrament are at their most effective when they throw in barbed death riffs into the mix too, as they do on the abrasive Consumed, or indeed when they embrace the blackened arts; closer Dusk Abuse, with its searing tremolo picking and blastbeats, stands out head and shoulders above most of Eternal Downfall.

The album’s impact is slightly diminished by a fetid production that complements Atrament’s grisly approach, but means James Meyer’s guitars aren’t nearly as fierce as they should be. Plus, as with much d-beat material, there is a tendency for songs to blend into each other, and for unremarkable efforts (Aeon of Suffering, for instance) to make the final cut.

However, Atrament have the basis of an effective formula here – one that, given time, could be turned into a weapons-grade virus.