Release DetailsLABEL Retribute Records
RELEASED ON 9/1/2004
posted on 11/2004 By:
In an ironic role reversal. Strangulation is an example of a Swedish band with an unabashed admiration of American metal. Armed with an intense amount of energy and what appears to be an astute knowledge of the Morrisound back catalogue, Strangulation's Atroctious Retribution is a debut album that more than makes up for its lack of innovation with passionate performances and an infectious passion for playing death metal that injects the songs with a vibrant energy that has been lacking in the recent wave of old school albums.
I need not give you a general idea of what Strangulation sounds like, as I can pretty much narrow their sound down to a fine point with two words. Cannibal Corpse. But here's the rub, instead of just sounding like a Cannibal Corpse clone, they actually offer the same sort of visceral satisfaction that death metal lovers experienced the first time they heard Tomb of the Mutilated. The songs have an undeniably classic feel that actually transports you back to 1992, instead of reminding you that it's 2004 and that this style of music isn't as fresh as it used to be. The title track opens the album, and about halfway through one thing becomes blatantly apparent: the bass guitar is a monster. It's tuned a few octaves below Satan's ass crack and its presence is unmistakable on every cut. It creates this massive churning effect that prevents the songs from ever becoming stationary. The middle section of this first song has this great death and roll breakdown that is perfectly accentuated by some sopping wet harmonics and a bassline that seems intent on making the listener drop a fresh load in his pants. The rest of the album follows suit. The songs are generally short, fast and carried by that bass guitar, which, again, is just menacing. To their credit, there are a few moments when Strangulation do slow things up and they do it very well. "The Strangulation" and "The Art of Torture" have these lurching dirge sections that, in addition to breaking up the tedium, are actually dark as hell and add to the overall atmosphere of this album.
So what else is there to say about this album that can't be summed up in a few clichéd catch phrases? I could have stopped at the Cannibal Corpse reference, but I decided to go into greater detail because any band that can stoke the embers of a fire so long dead deserve more than a few passing words. Admittedly, I was not initially up to the challenge of reviewing Atrocious Retribution, as finding fresh and exciting ways to call something brutal and pummeling can often be an exercise in futility. However, the more I listen to this album the more I come to find that its prevailing appeal is not the gut rumbling bass, or those slick harmonics (although they both help). What drives this album home is the fact that Strangulation really sounds like they love to play death metal, and that appeals to me, someone who loves to listen to death metal. Their style is neither groundbreaking or technically masterful, but is well executed and has a truly authentic death metal vibe that is in no way forced or contrived. If you enjoy the early Florida sound by all means grab this album because Strangulation will not only warm your heart with nostalgia, but also get your head banging in a way that is still relevant in the year 2004.
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