Artist: Atomic Witch
Album: Crypt of Sleepless Malice
Label: Redefining Darkness Records
Released: November 4th 2022
Location: Cleveland, Ohio
Atomic Witch‘s Crypt of Sleepless Malice violently throws together everything from technical thrash and prog metal to death and heavy metal, yet somehow makes it feel natural and effortless.
Vocally for the most part Greg Martinies reminds me of Havok’s David Sanchez with hints of Overkill’s Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth, Sadus’ Darren Travis and some King Diamond and Sanctuary era Warrel Dane thrown into the mix. There’s a great balance struck between the harsher barked side of Greg’s vocal range and his higher pitched cleaner vocals. That’s not including his harsher Trevor Strnad style vocals which aren’t used overly frequently, making them more impactful when they do hit. Supporting Greg is Jesse Shattuck whose more melodic clean vocals bring some nice diversity to the mix.
Instrumentally the album has a clear technical thrash basis, this is immediately apparent from the riffs that dominate the release. However, calling it a thrash album is a gross oversimplification, as there is so much more at play here. Harsher, more biting death metal elements are woven into the fabric of the album in between cleaner, catchier epic heavy metal style riffs and hooks. All of this is presented through a progressive metal lens allowing these vastly different styles of music to co-exist seamlessly. As much as I go on about diversity, I do need to make clear just how technically impressive the guitar work on the album is. The drums need some praise too, as the force and unrelenting intensity with which they’re played is genuinely impressive.
What I love most about this band is that unlike a lot of contemporary thrash, they never try to replicate the sound of a classic thrash act. They may draw influence from numerous thrash acts, but they combine these elements in such a way that the band’s sound and style is completely their own. This highly diverse range of influences means that the album never feels dull or repetitive due to each song being vastly different to the last.
Overall, the album is well worth the time of any thrash fan and stands as some of the most innovative and captivating music to emerge from the genre in recent years. I honestly can’t wait to see what the band does next, but this will definitely be a hard album to top.
Listen to and order the album: