One of the most literally explosive young bands in the nowadays metal underground, ATONEMENT are a trio of Swedes whose average age was 16 years old when they released their debut demo, Merciless Blasphemy, in 2021. Despite such youth, ATONEMENT proved that they are steeped in the ancient essence of thrashing death metal circa 1987. Bubbling forth from their cauldron of nastiness were the likes of early Destruction, Sepultura, Possessed, Death, Sweden’s Morbid, Germany’s Poison, and Chile’s Pentagram, and thus was Merciless Blasphemy aptly titled, for each of the demo’s five songs whipped forth a filth & fury quite unlike anything else around.
With expectations understandably high, ATONEMENT took their time crafting the penultimate debut album, and two years later it arrives in the form of Sadistic Invaders. Yet another aptly titled recording, Sadistic Invaders carries forward that filth & fury of its short-length predecessor and amazingly ups the nastiness to hellish levels. Again, even with the band not yet in their 20s, ATONEMENT are dead-ringers for juiced-up and jackhammering deathrash of a most mid-‘80s vintage, and the ten songs they devilishly dole out across the 37-minute album are somehow more crazed and compact than on said demo. And whereas that demo’s ultra-rawness emitted an air of the otherworldly, here on Sadistic Invaders do the trio impart a thicker and fuller-bodied aspect, retaining a respectable rawness but not at the expense of their superlative chops; while it’s always full speed ahead for ATONEMENT, they manage to twist the ceremonial knife in different and sometimes-impossible ways, elevating the album above the masses still searching for Endless Pain. Dizzying yet addicting, Sadistic Invaders hits with the power and precision of a nuclear strike.
And yet, it’s still early days for ATONEMENT, so who knows how far they’ll venture into the lungs of Hell? Sadistic Invaders provides the first full-length clues, and is highly recommended for maniacs of Deathhammer, Division Speed, and Norway’s late/great Condor.