North Carolina’s Nemesis has been around for more than a few years now, but only just put out their debut record earlier this year. All signs point to thrash with “Atrocity Unleashed”, and that is exactly what Nemesis delivers. If you don’t stretch out your neck before listening to this record, you’ll feel some pain at the end of this 35 minute journey. Nemesis subscribes to the hyperfast style of thrash. Think Sadus, Fastkill, or later Attomica and you’ll know what to expect from this band. It’s one of those albums where the drums feel like they’re racing ahead of the rest of the band simply because of how fast they’re playing. Of course, the band is always perfectly in time, but many of these songs are a spastic cacophony of high velocity riffs. To Nemesis’ credit, they don’t only play fast; there are a lot of more crushing sections that feel like transitions between the band’s speedier moments.
One of the best things about Nemesis is that they are a pure thrash band. That might seem like an obvious statement, but these guys keep things far more old-school than many of their peers. There are no death metal or black metal vocals, no blast beats, or even anything that sounds like it was invented after 1987 (ok, the blast beats one isn’t quite true, but they’re used sparingly). I like all of those things, but it gets tiring after a while. For this reason, it is refreshing to hear Nemesis take a more traditional thrashing approach. The occasional interjection of high-pitched screams is also welcome, especially because Nemesis’ singer clearly has no idea what he’s doing, resulting in these moments being much more hilarious than if he could actually hit the notes.
Often times, bands that take extreme approaches tend to be unmemorable, relying on their gimmick rather than their songwriting. Fortunately, that isn’t the case for Nemesis. A number of these songs are very memorable, with the highlights including “Nemesis”, “Blades of Death”, and “Psycho Surgeon”. The last of these three tracks is one of the slightly different sounding Nemesis songs. Its main riff is (comparatively) slower, and more groove based. It’s still completely crushing, but in a different way. It isn’t long before the band hits their old tempos, but the distinctive opening riff makes “Psycho Surgeon” a standout effort.
There isn’t much room to criticize “Atrocity Unleashed”. It doesn’t have a great production (the drums in particular could sound more organic), but given the sound quality of certain classics in this style, Nemesis is by no means lagging behind. Other than this, it’s easy to appreciate the album. The more thrash I hear with death metal vocals, the more I crave a band like Nemesis, and their commitment to all things 80s is a huge part of what makes them so great! For this reason, Nemesis’ “Atrocity Unleashed” is one of the most essential thrash releases of the last decade!
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"Blades of Death"
4.7/5 or 94%.