Atrocity’s ‘Okkult III’ Concludes Their Death Metal Trilogy in Perfect Harmony

Alex de Borba

Alex de Borba

Atrocity, a German band known for their eclectic and innovative approach to heavy metal music, has been a significant force in the global metal scene since their inception in 1985. The band’s history is a testament to the evolution of metal music, reflecting the genre’s shifts and trends while maintaining a unique identity that sets them apart from their contemporaries.

‘Okkult III’ represents the culmination of Atrocity’s ‘Okkult’ trilogy, a series of albums that have seen the band return to their death metal roots while maintaining their innovative approach to music. The album features guest performances from several notable musicians in the metal scene, including Elina Siirala (Leaves’ Eyes, Angel Nation), Zoe Marie Federoff (Cradle Of Filth, Catalyst Crime), Robse Dahn (Equilibrium), Misstiq, and Jonah Weingarten (Catalyst Crime, Pyramaze). The inclusion of these guest musicians adds a layer of complexity to the album, enriching the band’s sound and showcasing their collaborative spirit.

The lyrical concept of ‘Okkult III’ continues the themes explored in the previous two albums in the trilogy. The lyrics delve into the dark side of human history, exploring obscure stories and mysterious places. This thematic focus adds a layer of depth to the album, inviting listeners to engage with the music on a deeper level. The band’s frontman, Alexander Krull, has often spoken about the importance of lyrics in Atrocity’s music, and ‘Okkult III’ is no exception.

Atrocity was formed in Ludwigsburg, Germany, in 1985 by brothers Alexander and Mathias Krull, along with bassist Oliver Klasen and drummer Michael Schwarz. The band’s early years were characterized by a raw, aggressive death metal sound, as evidenced in their debut album ‘Hallucinations’ (1990). This album, produced by Scott Burns, a renowned producer in the death metal scene, established Atrocity as a promising new act in the burgeoning European metal landscape.

The 1990s marked a period of transition and experimentation for Atrocity. The band began to incorporate elements of gothic and industrial music into their sound, a shift that was met with both acclaim and criticism. Their 1994 album ‘Blut’ is a testament to this experimental phase, featuring a fusion of death metal with gothic and industrial influences. This period also saw several lineup changes, with the Krull brothers remaining the only constant members.

In the new millennium, Atrocity continued to evolve, exploring various musical styles and themes. Their 2004 release ‘Atlantis’ delved into symphonic and folk elements, while the ‘Okkult’ trilogy (2013-2023) saw a return to their death metal roots, albeit with a more polished and mature sound. Despite the band’s stylistic shifts, their commitment to pushing the boundaries of metal music has earned them a dedicated global fanbase and critical recognition. The band’s influence on other artists and the metal genre as a whole has become increasingly evident during this period.

Atrocity’s debut album, ‘Hallucinations,’ released on October 15th, 1990 by Nuclear Blast Records, marked the band’s entry into the European metal scene. The album was characterized by a raw and aggressive death metal sound, a style that was prevalent in the late 1980s. Produced by Scott Burns, a renowned figure in the death metal scene, ‘Hallucinations’ showcased the band’s potential and set the stage for their future endeavors.

The album’s title track, ‘Hallucinations,’ is a prime example of the band’s early sound. The song features fast-paced, intricate guitar work, guttural vocals, and relentless drumming, all hallmarks of the death metal genre. The lyrics delve into dark and surreal themes, further enhancing the aggressive musical backdrop.

Another standout track, ‘Life is a Long and Silent River,’ showcases the band’s ability to blend melody with aggression. The song features a memorable guitar riff and a catchy chorus, demonstrating the band’s knack for songwriting early in their career.

Late H.R. Giger, a Swiss artist known for his surreal and distinctive biomechanical artwork, created the cover art for Atrocity’s album ‘Hallucinations.’ Giger’s work is often characterized by a blend of human and machine elements, creating a dark, dystopian aesthetic that has become iconic in the world of science fiction and horror.

‘Hallucinations’ is no exception. The artwork is a haunting, intricate piece that perfectly complements the themes of the album. It features a monochromatic palette, typical of Giger’s work, with intricate details that draw the viewer in for a closer look. The image is both disturbing and fascinating, evoking a sense of unease and curiosity.

The central figure in the artwork appears to be a human-like creature, but upon closer inspection, it becomes clear that it is a fusion of organic and mechanical elements. This is a common theme in Giger’s work, reflecting his fascination with the relationship between humans and machines.

The artwork for ‘Hallucinations’ is a testament to Giger’s unique artistic vision and his ability to create images that are both unsettling and captivating. It is a perfect visual representation of the themes explored in Atrocity’s music, making it a memorable and iconic album cover.

The album received positive reviews from critics and fans alike, with many praising the band’s technical proficiency and songwriting skills. Despite being their debut album, ‘Hallucinations’ displayed a level of maturity and sophistication that set Atrocity apart from many of their contemporaries, and also set the tone for Atrocity’s future musical explorations. While the album was firmly rooted in death metal, there were hints of the band’s willingness to experiment with different musical styles. This willingness to push the boundaries of the genre would become a defining characteristic of Atrocity’s music in the years to come.

Following their debut album, Atrocity released ‘Todessehnsucht’ on August 25th, 1992, through Roadrunner Records. This album saw the band further refining their death metal sound while beginning to incorporate elements that hinted at their future musical evolution.

‘Todessehnsucht’ played a crucial role in Atrocity’s discography. The album’s blend of death metal aggression with melodic elements showcased the band’s musical versatility and hinted at their future musical explorations. Despite being only their second album, ‘Todessehnsucht’ demonstrated Atrocity’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of the metal genre.

Atrocity’s second full-length album, ‘Blut’ released on April 1st, 1994, marked a significant shift in the band’s musical direction. Released under Massacre Records, ‘Blut’ saw Atrocity incorporating elements of gothic and industrial music into their established death metal sound. This experimental approach was a bold move that demonstrated the band’s willingness to push the boundaries of the metal genre.

The album’s title track, ‘Blut,’ is a prime example of this new direction. The song blends the band’s aggressive death metal roots with atmospheric gothic elements, creating a unique sound that set Atrocity apart from their contemporaries. The use of synthesizers and electronic elements added a new layer of complexity to their music, demonstrating the band’s musical growth since their debut album.

Another standout track, ‘Miss Directed,’ showcased the band’s ability to seamlessly blend different musical styles. The song features a catchy industrial-inspired beat, overlaid with heavy guitar riffs and guttural vocals. The lyrics delve into dark and introspective themes, reflecting the band’s maturation as songwriters.

‘Blut’ received mixed reviews upon its release. Some critics praised the band’s innovative approach and willingness to experiment with different musical styles. However, others were more critical, preferring the band’s original death metal sound. Despite the varied reception, ‘Blut’ marked a significant milestone in Atrocity’s musical journey, demonstrating their ability to evolve and adapt to changing musical trends.

The title track, ‘Willenskraft,’ exemplifies the band’s new direction. The song features industrial beats, atmospheric synthesizers, and distorted vocals, creating a sound that is both aggressive and haunting. The lyrics delve into dark and introspective themes, reflecting the band’s maturation as songwriters.

Another standout track, ‘Taste of Sin,’ showcases the band’s ability to blend industrial and metal elements seamlessly. The song features a driving beat, overlaid with heavy guitar riffs and guttural vocals. The lyrics explore themes of temptation and transgression, adding a layer of complexity to the aggressive musical backdrop.

‘Willenskraft’ received mixed reviews upon its release. Some critics praised the band’s innovative approach and willingness to experiment with different musical styles. However, others were more critical, preferring the band’s original death metal sound. Despite the varied reception, ‘Willenskraft’ marked a significant milestone in Atrocity’s musical journey, demonstrating their ability to evolve and adapt to changing musical trends.

‘Willenskraft’ represented a bold step forward for Atrocity. The album’s fusion of industrial and metal elements showcased the band’s musical versatility and willingness to experiment.

Atrocity’s album ‘Gemini,’ released on February 26, 2000, under the Motor Music label, marked another significant evolution in the band’s sound. This album saw the band further exploring the gothic and industrial elements that they had begun to incorporate in their previous releases.

The album is divided into two parts: one featuring heavier, more aggressive tracks, and the other showcasing softer, more melodic songs. This dual nature is reflected in the album’s title, ‘Gemini,’ representing the astrological sign often associated with duality.

‘Gemini’ represented a significant step in Atrocity’s musical journey. The album’s exploration of gothic and industrial elements, combined with its dual nature, showcased the band’s musical versatility and their willingness to experiment. Despite the mixed reception, ‘Gemini’ played a crucial role in shaping Atrocity’s future musical direction.

Atrocity’s musical evolution took another significant turn with the release of ‘Atlantis’ on April 26, 2004, under Napalm Records. This album saw the band exploring symphonic and folk elements, further expanding their musical palette. ‘Atlantis’ demonstrated Atrocity’s ability to reinvent themselves while maintaining their metal roots.

The album’s title track, ‘Atlantis,’ is a testament to this new direction. The song features a grand symphonic arrangement, complete with orchestral elements and choir vocals. This is layered with heavy guitar riffs and powerful drumming, creating a unique blend of symphonic metal and folk influences. The lyrics tell a captivating tale of the mythical city of Atlantis, further enhancing the song’s epic feel.

Another standout track, ‘Omen – The Ghoulish Malady,’ showcases the band’s ability to blend different musical styles seamlessly. The song features a haunting melody, overlaid with heavy guitar riffs and guttural vocals. The lyrics delve into dark and supernatural themes, reflecting the band’s continued exploration of complex and thought-provoking topics.

‘Atlantis’ was well-received by critics and fans alike. Many praised the band’s successful fusion of symphonic and folk elements with their established metal sound. The album’s grandiose arrangements and captivating lyrics demonstrated Atrocity’s growth as musicians and songwriters.

Atrocity’s album ‘After the Storm,’ released on September 1st, 2010, under the Napalm Records seal, marked a significant departure from the band’s previous sound. This album saw the band exploring folk and world music elements, further expanding their musical palette.

The title track, ‘After the Storm,’ exemplifies the band’s new direction. The song features acoustic guitars, tribal drums, and Yasmin’s haunting vocals, creating a sound that is both atmospheric and captivating. The lyrics delve into themes of resilience and recovery, reflecting the album’s title.

Another standout track, ‘Black Mountain, showcases the band’s ability to blend folk and metal elements seamlessly. The song features a driving beat, overlaid with heavy guitar riffs and guttural vocals, creating a unique blend of styles that is both aggressive and melodic.

‘After the Storm’ represented a bold step forward for Atrocity. The album’s fusion of folk and world music elements with their established metal sound showcased the band’s musical versatility and willingness to experiment. Despite the mixed reception, ‘After the Storm’ played a crucial role in shaping Atrocity’s future musical direction.

Atrocity’s ‘Okkult’ trilogy, released between 2013 and 2023 through Massacre Records, marked a return to the band’s death metal roots. However, the trilogy showcased a more refined and mature sound, reflecting the band’s growth and evolution over the years.

The first installment, ‘Okkult,’ released on April 22nd, 2013, set the tone for the trilogy. The album features a blend of aggressive death metal with symphonic elements, creating a sound that is both brutal and grandiose. The lyrics delve into dark and occult themes, adding to the album’s intense and atmospheric feel.

The second installment, ‘Okkult II,’ released on July 6th, 2018, continued the band’s exploration of occult themes. The album features a heavier sound, with fast-paced guitar riffs, guttural vocals, and relentless drumming. The symphonic elements are still present, adding a layer of complexity to the band’s aggressive death metal sound.

The final installment, ‘Okkult III,’ was released on January 20th, 2023, concluded the trilogy on a high note. The album features a perfect blend of the band’s aggressive death metal roots and their symphonic influences, creating a sound that is both brutal and sophisticated. The lyrics continue to explore occult themes, providing a fitting conclusion to the trilogy.

The ‘Okkult’ trilogy was met with positive reviews, with critics praising the band’s return to their roots while maintaining their innovative approach to music. The trilogy’s exploration of occult themes and its blend of death metal with symphonic elements showcased Atrocity’s musical versatility and their ability to push the boundaries of the metal genre.

Atrocity’s live performances and tours have also played a significant role in their global recognition. Their energetic performances and interaction with fans have further solidified their status in the metal scene. Additionally, the band members’ involvement in other musical projects and collaborations has enriched their musical repertoire, contributing to their continued evolution.

The history of Atrocity is a testament to the band’s resilience, creativity, and commitment to their craft. From their early days in the German death metal scene to their current status as metal innovators, Atrocity’s journey reflects the evolution of the genre itself. Their willingness to experiment and push boundaries has not only defined their unique sound but also influenced the broader metal landscape. As Atrocity continues to create and perform, their legacy in the world of metal music remains undeniable.

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