Genre/Influences: EBM, dark-electro.
Background/Info: The Norwegian Atropine duo has been active for more than 20 years now. They made a noticeable comeback in 2014 releasing the great “Recurring Nightmares”-album. “Assailant” is their newest album featuring 15 songs of horror-electronics.
Content: The front cover reminds me of Frontline Assembly while the music remains strongly inspired by early Skinny Puppy. Atropine is not exactly reinventing the EBM standards, but they simply confirm impressive writing skills. The sound is dark and filled with horror-atmospheres, but it especially reveals a sophisticated and complex writing.
“Assailant” reveals a passion for unique sound sculptures and the band clearly doesn’t spare any effort to find the right sound. It also sounds a bit industrial-like, which is mainly due to the constant sound manipulation and the use of vintage gear. The work also reveals refined arrangements accomplished by subtle icy bleeps.
+ + + : “Assailant” definitely is the masterpiece in Atropine’s history. The band here excelled in the creation of haunting and obscure atmospheres recovering a surgical sound writing carried by industrial-like slow rhythms and spooky vocals. The composition is achieved with endless details and samplings, which will notice by using headphones. This is a brilliant and totally accomplished work revealing numerous outstanding songs, which will please lovers of Skinny Puppy and Mortal Constraint. Some of the vintage electro sounds also reminds me of early Front 242, but in a harder and more industrial format.
– – – : There are a few album without real minus points and that’s precisely what “Assailant” is all about.
Conclusion: Atropine deals with the most sophisticated format of EBM, which reflects a real maturity in writing, but first of all a creative approach resulting in genius sound treatments and outstanding songs. There are not enough superlatives to express the beauty of this album, which without a shadow of a doubt is one of the highlights of 2016 in EBM lands and for sure one of the best albums ever on EK Product.
Best songs: “Exterminism”, “Assailant”, “Forfeit”, “Hearse Hand”, “Naked Fear”, “Ultra Swine”, “Life Leash”.