Haemophagus - AtrociousA decade into their career and Italian death metal band Haemophagus have returned with their second album, “Atrocious”, which is out now on Razorback Records. After a few line up changes earlier on in their career, David and Giorgio (the sole remaining founder members have now settled with this current incarnation, and the result is a quality example of solid old school thrash / death metal.

Eschewing the usual form for introductions on extreme metal albums, where he band tend to go for either a calm acoustic sound or haunting atmospheric soundscapes, Haemophagus opt for a mellow, almost trippy sound which immediately grabs your attention. Once ‘Partying at the Grave’ kicks in however, you a re brought right back down to Earth as the band get straight down to business. The first few tracks have a definite feel of classic nineties death metal, with ‘Ultimate Incantation’ era Vader, the best comparison I could make. It’s just full on punishing brutality.

The second half of the album takes on a slower, grimy, doom approach, much more in the vein of Autopsy, mixing up the tempos and adding shorter punkier tracks in between the usual three or four minute numbers. The production is spot on for this style of metal, clear and crisp but far from perfect and over done, and it still retains a filthy should that should keep most old school fans happy. The way they have used the best bits of the genre over the past 20 / 25 years and put it together without it feeling like an obvious nostalgia trip, but instead something that is very relevant and

There is a raw sound to the album that adds to the appeal. You can tell that it hasn’t had too much messed about with. There are few glitches during a couple of tempo changes, but nothing which takes any enjoyment away from the album, if anything it helps add to the overall chaotic nature that the Italians have created.

Overall, a good album, one that will leave you routing through your collection to get more of that good old vibe back.