4/20/2015 - Review by: Greg Watson
One of the great things about reviewing metal releases is that we get exposed to all sorts of bands and styles that are floating out there. You get to hear about bands that you wouldn't normally get informed of unless you were heavy in to the underground or chatting with global pen pals. Hailing from Germany, the band's debut album "New Atlantis" is a dose of bone crushing, head smashing technical death metal. Think of Decapitated back in their early days and then throw in a healthy dose of anabolic steroids and that's the sound that you should expect when you start listening to this album.
Starting off "Bipolar Disorder" with a very unassuming acoustic intro, the listener is quickly obliterated with swirling ferocity as vocalist Michael Bachmann's unleashes his inner beast. With lots of sweeps and flourishes, the guitars are fully on 11 as this track serves as a portent of what is to come. The rhythm section throughout the album reminds me of a cannonade between armies. Heavy, bombastic and hellbent on destroying whatever is in their path, drummer Jonas Pfeiffer and bassist Julian Welsch direct the rhythm as if they are in control of a Panzer tank headed to battle. "Ignite the Dawn" follows and features guest vocals from Sven DeCaluwe (Aborted). His vocals add an edge of brutality to the track as it pulls no punches with its straight-to-the-point heaviness.
The next two tracks, "Into the Shattering" and "Despise the Living", start out much the same as "Ignite the Dawn" with a ridiculously heavy intro and follow the formula of fast, technical guitars and buzzsaw vocals. "Ancient" offers a bit of a more groove-focused sound as the band slow their technical pace down by just the tiniest bit. But in doing so, the band allow themselves to get a heavier groove going and Bachmann's vocals really shine with the bite and depth in his tone. The remainder of the album follows the same pattern, with the exception of the two instrumental tracks. The track "Nereids" features an appearance by Christian Münzner (Ex Necrophagist, Ex Obscura) on guitar and is easily the album's heaviest and most furious track.
The production on this album, especially being self produced, is pretty solid and doesn't sound like someone recording on their parent's cassette player in a padded garage. The vocals, instruments and mix are all very clear and flow together very well. The most mind boggling thing about this band is that they are unsigned! With a sound like theirs and the tightness that the band possess, it is absolutely stunning to know that the band is out there without the support of a label. Hopefully, reviews of "New Atlantis" will garner the band some attention and deservedly get them signed somewhere.
The one drawback I have is that the album is 14 tracks. Had it been a little shorter, maybe around 10 or 11 tracks, it would have held my attention a bit longer than it did. That being said though, this is a hell of a debut and a sound that, albeit somewhat familiar, was a refreshing feel to a genre that is oft-maligned for its stagnation and repetition. While there are some of those repetitive traits with "New Atlantis", Shattered are clearly on a path that should get their names on the tongues of tech fans everywhere and will hopefully put them on the radar of a label looking for that next act to sign that could be significant. I was thoroughly impressed with Shattered and they definitely made a very significant blip on this listener's radar.
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