Atrophy
Asylum

Looking back to 1992. I was living in England at the time due to my dad being stationed there with the Air Force. I spent many hours in the base record store, I discovered so many bands while living over there and Atrophy was one of them. It was a track on a compilation called Thrash the Wall and the song was (I think…) “Violent by Nature” because that album had come out. I immediately sought out that album and was lucky enough to find it on cassette; needless to say I wore the tape out from repeated listening. But they only released two albums Socialized Hate and the aforementioned Violent by Nature and then… nothing.

Covid changed things and eventually vocalist Brian Zimmerman reformed the band under the Atrophy banner, eschewing the Scars of Atrophy band that apparently went nowhere. Long story short, Brian reactivated the band under the Atrophy name but with new musicians behind him. That was then, this is now and Atrophy have a real force of destruction with new album Asylum. Nine tracks of pure golden Thrash Metal, fuckin A.

So, by now you’ve heard the scorching single “Punishment for All”, balls to the wall speed, shouted gang vocals, all delivered with vicious aplomb. The production is stellar, Brian’s vocals sound especially strong, the whole band is on nuclear fire with a soaring solo at the 3:15 mark the staccato drums and riffs coming together in raucous harmony.

“High Anxiety” starts off as a mid paced before picking up speed for the solo and continuing raging towards the end with this sick harmonized solo. “Seeds of Sorrow” is by far one of my favorite tracks, there’s an intro riff that’s absolutely blistering, this song has it all; bonkers solos and a massive breakdown of punishing proportions. Atrophy pull brilliant moments out of their Thrashers hat left and right on Asylum, I hear a lot of Demolition Hammer on this album, whether that was an influence is unknown to me, but I can hear echoes of Tortured Existence peppered throughout, whether it’s the slow, precision attack of “Distortion” with it’s metered out death-like passages at the 3-4 minute mark.

With Asylum, Atrophy are proving that nothing has been lost between Violent by Nature then and now. Lyrics seem to focus on politics and the general struggle of life. This is evident in “Bleeding Out” and “American Dream” while “Close my Eyes” is a sometimes Testament tinged riff fest that could have been on Dark Roots of the Earth easily, even the vocal delivery has that feeling, this is by no means a bad thing, it has some clean vocals that aren’t bad and make it actually a very strong song.

Last two “the Apostle” and the punishing closer “5 Minutes ‘til Suicide” and there it is. Hit play again. Badassery delivered. Atrophy deserve to be part of some Big 4 that nobody has come up with, Big 4 of 90s Thrash Metal sounds like a good start… someone should get on that.

It goes without saying that Atrophy have a definite spot as a force of Thrash in 2024. I’m for hoping there’s a follow-up sooner than later. If, for whatever reason you have never heard of them before, I urge you to check them out.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Jeremy Beck
April 11th, 2024

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