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Atrophy “Asylum” Album Review by Curtis J. Dupree

ATROPHY Band members

For those of us who count ourselves as classic thrash metal fans, Atrophy is a name that definitely rings a bell. Back in thrash metal’s heyday, they released two well-known albums: Socialized Hate and Violent by Nature. Now fast-forward to today, and we have a new release from the band, named Asylum

It should be noted upfront that the band is largely different from the one that recorded Violent by Nature. Vocalist Brian Zimmerman is the only member left. He has brought with him a more than competent group of musicians, all of whom know how to thrash properly. Special mention must go to lead guitarist Nathan Montalvo, who lets loose with some killer, shredding solos. Brian himself sounds positively vicious—in a good way. His vocals are intelligible, which also helps shine a light on the lyrics. Atrophy was already known for socially conscious lyrics, and they largely keep to that emphasis on Asylum—something that I appreciate.

The production deserves mention. It is a clear, powerful production, but it sounds natural and not digital or sterile. Many of the songs boast memorable choruses and enough aggression to satisfy any thrash fan worth his denim vest. The main problem with the release is the inconsistent riff quality. Some songs boast strong riffs, but others feature unremarkable riffing that just feels kind of “there.” Such songs will be noted in the review.

The album begins with “Punishment for All,” and it’s a great way to kick off the release. The riff that comes in right before the verse is strong. The vocals sound vicious and I am here for it. The prechorus and chorus are both quite hooky. The bridge features a good groove and some nice bass work, as well as a strong solo. 

High Anxiety” follows with solid riffs, solid leads, and solid hooks. There’s even a line in the song that suggests a nod to the Megadeth classic “Sweating Bullets.” This song is a strong follow-up to the opener.

Seeds of Sorrow” features some decent riff work, although a slight step down from the first two tracks. Both the lead work and the chorus elevate the song. 

A slower, groovier pace can be found with “Distortion.” The riffs here, however, are not memorable enough. The band sounds good, and there are some strong vocal hooks, but I would prefer stronger riffing.  

Bleeding Out” has some strong bass work, and a great, hooky chorus. I do think this song as well would benefit from a stronger riff. Unlike with “Distortion,” however, this song gets by a bit on energy. 

We get a stronger riff with “American Dream.” The chorus is a bit less catchy here, although certainly not bad. Kragen Lum contributes lead guitar on this song, and the solo we get is a scorcher. 

Close My Eyes” boasts a nice, clean guitar intro with some good vocals from Brian. The riffs on this song are pretty decent and we get another killer solo. 

Beginning with a clip of preaching, we come to “The Apostle.” This is easily one of the strongest songs on the album. We get strong riffs and very catchy vocal hooks, adding up to a very strong thrash tune. 

Five Minutes ‘Til Suicide” closes the record on a high note. The riffs here are quite good. Brian delivers some more very catchy vocal hooks. Any thrash fan should find plenty to like here.

Interestingly, Asylum feels like it is largely bookended with the strongest tracks. Those four songs are all quite strong top to bottom and make the record a worthwhile listen. The other songs in the middle range a bit more in terms of quality. Almost no track is without redeeming features, and Zimmerman and company always sound great. If the riff work can be improved a bit, or at least be a bit more consistently strong, Atrophy could deliver a modern classic. As it stands now, Asylum is a good album with some great tracks, but it falls short of true greatness.

Curtis’ rating: 7.25/10 

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ATROPHY Album Cover


  1. Punishment For All
  2. High Anxiety
  3. Seeds Of Sorrow
  4. Distortion
  5. Bleeding Out
  6. American Dream
  7. Close My Eyes
  8. The Apostle
  9. Five Minutes ‘Til Suicide

Brian Zimmerman – Vocals
Nathan Montalvo – Lead Guitar
Mark Coglan – Rhythm Guitar
Josh Gibbs – Bass Guitar
Jonas Shütz – Drums

Kragen Lum – Lead Guitar on “American Dream”
Justin Stear – Bass Guitar on “American Dream”, “Close My Eyes”, “Distortion”

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