Atomic Witch
Crypt of Sleepless Malice

Imagine yourself being attacked by a shirtless man wearing a neon green ski mask. Then, imagine liking it and hoping he decides to do it again. Maybe some of you in our readership don’t have to imagine it because it’s your kink. I’m not one to kink shame. Whatever floats your penis, I always say…

Anyway, that somehow brings us to the debut thrashterpiece from Atomic Witch. I will be the first to admit that besides some excellent bands in the genre, thrash is not typically my sub-genre of choice, so Atomic Witch certainly have their work cut out for them.

After a short intro, the first track, “Psychic Miasma” comes to rip you from crack to neck. It doesn’t take long for frontman Greg Martinis to show his versatility in the vocal department. With some properly ferocious thrash rasps, he also mixes in deeper growls. It’s not all about him, though, because not only do guitarists Jonah Meister and Jesse Shattuck rip out ass-kicking solos and riffs, but the latter even provides some truly righteous falsettos throughout the album that would make King Diamond himself give a standing ovation.

Once again, I’m no kink shamer, but some of you may also be on board with a “Leather Noose.” Beginning with just some drums and amp feedback, the following main riff is bouncy. The falsettos in this track are absolute FIRE, and of course the guitar solo is once again top notch. If you can’t air guitar to this, you probably just don’t even know what a guitar is.

Up next is an addictive little number that has been released as a single, “70,000 Skulls.” Who can’t repeat “70,000 fucking skulls?!” Falsettos of course intact, this is also one of the heavier numbers on the album, with a decidedly death metal “eee-ya” preceding a burly riff, which also transitions into the solo, making for a great catchy track, with a fitting end.

On the second half of the album, one of my favorites is “Casket Dragger,” which is track 10 of 11. It has more of a dirge, death metal vibe. The lyrics, while delivered in what is now a familiar thrash, not entirely unlike “Zetro” style with the added falsetto, are very death metal as well. As on other previous tracks, the guitar tone and production are excellent.

The last track is of course the title track. It’s a little longer than most, but not the longest on the album. Most of them hover around the 3-minute mark, and this surpasses it. I cannot get enough death metal “ughs” in my life this year apparently, and a couple are delivered here right before a nice riff stomping. If one word could describe the instrumentals and vocals on this debut, it would easily be “excellent.”

Jesus Christ, I think I could talk at length about every single song on here. This is heavy, thrashy, and maintains a campy sort of fun while still being serious. It’s a difficult balance to pull off, but damn was I looking forward to this after seeing them at Into the Darkness fest. Not only does it not disappoint, I expect it to be on several year-end lists, including mine.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by J Mays
November 8th, 2022


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