Album Review: ATRAMENT Eternal Downfall
Broken Limbs have made quite the name for themselves in recent years as one of the chief labels for truly underground extreme music. Their latest release, Atrament almighty Eternal Downfall is no exception. Produced by the always rad Greg Wilkinson, Atrament lie at a fusion point, combining black metal with English anarcho punk and more than a little Swedish d beat. It leads to a sound that, while not too far from any of its roots, manages to sound like its own thing. A record that dances between touches of Darkthrone, Entombed and Napalm Death (Among countless others) Eternal Downfall is punishingly heavy and paints pictures of a grim reality that is perhaps best forgotten.
The bands trademark buzz puts them in the same canon as icons like Unleashed (Although some of the more angular riffs might invoke At The Gates) and helps to prove that Atrament understand how to invoke some evil fucking death metal. They aren't afraid to paint it in a more grandiose fashion than many of their peers though. The combination of a distinctly Swedish death metal groove with more traditionally black metal soundscapes on a song like 'Hericide' perfectly embodies what this band is about – taking some of the most exciting and devastating aspects of 90s extreme metal and running them through a gauntlet of cosmic brutality. The aural devastation rained down by these tracks is strangely beautiful, mesmerizing even, and hints at even greater things to come from these Oakland maniacs.
Despite any comparisons that I might make to more traditional (And frankly entry level) bands don't get me wrong – Eternal Downfall certainly isn't a gateway album -it's dense and disturbing, emotionally crushing and full of brainy twists and turns that you really need to study extreme metal to understand. This is the sort of record that plumbs sonic depths and revels in the murk of the vast and demented underground scene in America. Eternal Downfall shows that Atrament know how to infuse this darkness with a measure of beauty. The record, as grimy as it might come off as, certainly reflects something important about the world today and is a fitting testament to the power of metal as high art. It goes above and beyond the call of duty in many ways, painting a final and devastating picture that few of us will ever fully understand.
Eternal Downfall holds appeal because its unique set of influences paints a harsher reality, one that we can all connect with, and one that shows us the realities of an increasingly dystopian world. There is something almost apocalyptic about Eternal Downfall as if we are sitting on the brink of a sound that could tear us all apart. Atrament have done a stellar job of combining ideas and styles to create a sound that very few of us could ever forget. It's a sound that shows us the sheer humanity of our own personal struggles and reminds us that no matter what the struggle, it could always get worse.