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Album Review: Atrament – Scum Sect

I stumbled upon Atrament because of my recent fascination with Caligari Records and found them upon scrolling through the label’s Bandcamp among releases that they weren’t sold out of. Rising from the heatwaves of California, they dropped their second full-length Scum Sect a few years back, and it’s a pretty straightforward dose of darkness and speed. Essentially, they ride with the d-beat playing style more than anything, but there’s definitely some unavoidable black metal in there.

The overall feelings cast sensations of warfare and general hatred through a fairly repetitive rhythm style. Subtle moments with thrashy breaks help separate the monotonous passages, which can be heard easily in “War Seed.” The bridge, in particular, allows the guitars to jump above the mix until they crumble into a wailing solo. Transitions are (most likely) avoided for the sheer sake of adding discomfort and abruptness to the construction. From front to back, that doesn’t allow for a very fluid listen, but it’s somewhat necessary.

Regarding the black metal ingredients, you’ll be able to taste these in songs like “Boiling Blood.” The d-beat composure is blended with an immense amount of tremolos, which naturally darkens the atmosphere as well. “Craven” adds blast-beat drumming to that, changing the patterns up a bit, and will satisfy any corpsepaint-cravers. But thankfully, there’s never really a point where Scum Sect falls off of the rails and loses its initial focus.

Admittedly, Atrament lost some of its luster after a few listens. It’s a solid, quick, and straightforward blast of energy that’s got a time and a place. Variation isn’t something that you’ll seek out with this style, but stagnation definitely hurts it as well. But it’s worth spinning a few times, and I recommend fans of any mentioned style give Atrament a try.

Scum Sect dropped on September 28th, 2018, in cassette format through Caligari Records, and CD and vinyl format through Blood Harvest. Grab your preferred copy at their respective links.

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