“I put on my robe and wizard hat…” Bloodninja
The late-to-the-party antics of the Fox Network’s corporate-approved vulgarity show pony Family Guy‘s (earlier) bespoke crudeness on “Bango Was His Name Oh” (Season 4, Episode 29, 2006) is brilliantly linked in referential parody to its source, lifted from a better writer’s work few years earlier (which was later juiced for years on end), kicking off a bevvy of savvy clippage served by Phoenix, Arizona-based slamming brutal death metal quartet Atoll as they begin to develop humorous motif on the opening number from their latest EP, ‘Prepuce‘. By quickly incorporating a short clip from comedian Dave Chappelle‘s groundbreaking Chapelle’s Show taken from the infamous “Samuel Jackson Beer & Racial Draft” (Season 2, Episode 1, 2004) wherein the actor (in character) states “Mmm, mmm, bitch!” from a skit depicting the actor Samuel L. Jackson being thrilled about Samuel Jackson beer (a commercial parody of Samuel Adams beer), the band have charmingly referenced both alcohol and the long-dead era of Comedy Central-level humor in its early 2000’s peak. A few moments later, in the midst of this same opening piece (“Cirrhosis for Dinner”) another clip is used from the same sketch wherein Mr. Chappelle (again in character) suggests “You’ll be fuckin’ fat bitches in no time.” Here we find what is just the kick-off, the proverbial pulling back of the foreskin in reveal of the band’s jocular wheel upon nostalgic forms, a few riffs, major “toilet violent” goofin’ mindset, and… better days?
The iron rich aroma of human blood mixes with the knee-weakening atmospheric flume of ripening feces for a cocktail that further distends our analysis as a reading of “Butt chunks, butt chunks, butt chunks… *key change* butt chunks” directly pulled from a meme directed by starlord Biden‘s lips kicks off the otherwise expressive, contemptuous roar of “Knifed in the Butt” where the physical harangue of the bass guitar lines and boiling percussive intensity of Atoll‘s style is measured, a hulking and moderately slamming piece centered on vocalist Wade Taylor‘s varietal approach, that which reaches a pig-squeal and squelched-out candor on major showpiece, “The Circumcisor” next. This song pulls its narrative device from a single scene in the Jack Black and Michael Cera boasting film Year One (2009) wherein biblical fictive character Abraham (played by Tufts honoree Hank Azaria) humorously describes male circumcision with exquisite candor. Though this is “funny” at face value, violating the human/bodily rights of a child for the sake of religious tradition is not normal. In a sense Atoll have not only showcased their modern slam and deathcore-edged sound but revealed themselves as admirable activists to a worthy cause. See also: [intactamerica.org]
If a knife to the butt and the penis weren’t already the main attraction for sidling up next to a copy of ‘Prepuce‘ then consider the value of the first half of the ~23 minute EP as a keen conglomeration of “peaking” humor in United States popular culture two decades ago wherein censorship and a sensitivity were both rightfully abated, at least with good enough sense that even the lowest hanging fruit of the comedy genre could inspire with memorable personae, or, at the very least a frank bout of cultural self-examination. It was also the era where brutal death metal had likewise gone too far in the best way possible and in this sense Atoll go “too far” in this same tradition despite their sound reflecting the modernisms of slamming brutal death metal (minus the cheesy nuke-level bass drops). Theirs is an extreme metal band proper in that their parameters are set far broader and in easier motion than dryly hardcorish normative standards today, and without the need for egotistical showmanship. In fewer words, Atoll are having fun with this EP in a satisfyingly irreverent way to start.
It isn’t until “Hitchhiker” and “Grotesque Swarm” at the conclusion of the record that we hit upon a few bouts of more ‘serious’ musicianship and a darker tone, nixing the use of film/television samples and grinding out some technical if not understated (?) slam pieces. For folks already familiar with their three full-length records this recording offers more dynamically set production without any severe ‘loudness’ applied and their style moves away from its groove-obsessed chunking into slightly more technical character. From my point of view it definitely felt like picking up an old Skinless record and only remembering the samples to start, having to go back and focus on the riffs with some serious intent so that I’d stop thinking about which movie or show the clips were from. I’m all for having a good time and “fun” is just fine when it is over the top enough in terms of brutal death yet I’d not found a major reason to be excited for what’s up next in the Atoll camp ’til they hit those last 2-3 songs on the record, making the rest of it a distraction. Beyond the charisma of the band fixing me on this EP in the long run, I’d loved the Karl Dahmer cover art as a first impression, tons of motion and enough negative space that it was readable. It all synced up, even if I’m not entirely blown away. A moderately high recommendation.
|LABEL(S):||Unique Leader Records|
|RELEASE DATE:||April 15th, 2022|
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