Atrament take aim at humanity’s decaying decency, embrace total downfall on brutal ‘Scum Sect’

There are times when I’m convinced humanity has run its course. Yes, look, there are many good people among us who mean well and try to help others. They aren’t the ones with voices or power. The people who make decisions, who decide what types of people are desirable or not, and who can punish at will because of their tiny, puny minds is overwhelming, and perhaps total destruction is the only answer.

Obviously, that’s a little over the top, but not when it comes to Bay Area crushers Atrament and their brutal new record “Scum Sect.” For them, seeing the best in people and hoping good prevails is so way back on the burners, it burnt and crusted over long ago. Now is the time for nihilism, pestilence, and destruction as a way to erode the scourge of humankind hellbent on wrecking this planet and giving way to the lowly scum and bacteria that inhabited this place long before we did. On this 10-track, 30-minute explosion of carnage, the band takes no prisoners and turns their vitriol toward those who use their own power to destroy those weaker than them. This is the band’s second record and follow-up to 2016’s killer “Eternal Downfall” which put Atrament—vocalist Mattia Alagna (Abstracter), guitarist James Meyer (Abstracter), bassist Sam Carr-Prindle, and drummer Chad Galey (Necrot, Mortuous)—in more ears and faces, leaving those people forever bruised.

“Plague Upheaval” gets the machine started with blackened hell and full demolition, powering into hardcore-style rumbling, with Alagna’s growls smearing everything with dirt. “Chains of Terror” erupts into D-beat tension, as roared vocals mix with black metal-style melodies to paint a bleak picture. The pace is utterly steamrolling, heading right into “Harbinger” that fires up immediately. The drums draw and spray blood, while the track heads into muddy, violence turbulence, as the leads terrify, and everything ends in pain. “War Seed” unleashes fiery guitars as Galey’s drums gain momentum, and chunky thrashing deals out more punishment. The growls are lacerating, as the guitars speed ahead and bring everything to a riotous end. “Boiling Blood” bashes and stampedes, giving off the heat its title implies and pushing the pace to speedy, dangerous levels before bleeding its way out.

“Spit on Mankind” is driven by a galloping bassline and thick, abrasive riffs, which make the conditions ideal for Alagna’s monstrous growls. The pace grows frantic, as do the vocals, while the riffs wage a battle amid a bone-splitting assault. “Odium” is another where Galey’s drums take over and set the pace, as rage-splashed vocals seek retribution, and the violent pace aims to destroy all. “Malignant” lets the guitars take charge, as the song gets rougher as it goes on, and Alagna’s growls sound like they’re doing permanent damage to his throat. Things only get more intense from there, with the song ending on a volatile note. “Craven” keeps up its end of the deal, as the vocals sound like they’re gurgling thick blood, and the band finds a tempo that’s somehow even more vicious before coming to a smashing end. Closer “The Night Shall See No End” is ominous from the start, letting you feel the palpable unease and refusing to give you calm. The track opens up and declares warfare, as Alagna’s cries shred skin, the drums split congealing wounds, and everything some to a sudden, shocking end.

Abstracter’s vitriol is so thick on “Scum Sect,” you practically can taste the dirt in your teeth and under your tongue after this record is finished. This is a mean, nasty album that has ill intentions, and it’s really hard to disagree with them considering the world we’re in now. Perhaps we’re better off living alongside vermin, but then again, that might be a little insulting to the vermin.

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