Released: 2000, Motor Music
Reviewer: Nathan Robinson
It was bound to happen, I guess. Atrocity of late has been driving themselves further from death metal on a road that leads towards goth and industrial. Their little experimentation in the sounds of the ‘80s on Werk 80 has affected the way they write music in the new millenium. For better or worse? Well taking into consideration their first four brilliant albums, the new style is for the worse. First of all, make no mistake: although this is no longer death metal, that metallic element remains, the guitars being as heavy and abrasive as they’ve ever been. However, the overall song structures are much more straightforward and simple, unfortunately. Atrocity’s new direction must have caused the departure of longtime drummer Michael Schwarz, for his talent would have surely gone to waste here, as the drumming on Gemini is simplistic, just as the rest of the music calls for. Vocally, Alexander Krull has expanded his range and sounds fully comfortable and confident with his cleaner singing style. And although I admire his voice in every respect, I sure do miss his older death style. One interesting thing is the almost 50/50 split between English and German lyrics. The music is backed by electronics throughout the album, through programming and keyboards, and whatever else they’re using. And it is these electronics that pushes the band towards that industrial metal category, even reminding me of Prong’s Rude Awakening. On the other hand, Krull’s clean vocals and the occasional female backing vocals throw in that gothic feel…not the I-wear-all-black-and-hide-in-my-basement-worshipping-spiders-until-my-parents-come-home gothic mentality, more of the dark yet relaxed atmospheric gothic metal feel Kreator had on Endorama. The songs on Gemini are much more accessible than normal Atrocity songs, and overall they’re “happier”. Really, if you didn’t know better, you could call this album Werk 81. Because for the most part, the songs sound like old ‘80s songs redone with heavy guitars. Actually, there are a few cover tunes on Gemini, which is totally pointless considering they just released a whole album’s worth three years ago.
Overall, this is one disappointing album. However I’m sure it will find it’s way into my CD player rather frequently because I’ve always admired this band, even through all the changes and experiments, and Gemini sounds different than anything else I’ve heard. But unless you’re a diehard Atrocity fan, you’d best keep away from this album. And if you do plan on checking this out, know that two different versions exist: the “red” and “blue” versions, which have different album covers. Plus, the “red” version contains the English version of the last track “Lili Marleen”, while the “blue” version contains the German version of the song. Check out the band’s much-improved web site at: http://www.atrocity.de/
In closing, allow me to say: Hey!!! Can anyone please hook me up with Atrocity’s Instigator demo?!?! And Mr. Schwarz: now that you’re free from Atrocity, are you going to do that old-school death metal project I heard about?