Atrophy were one of the three bands from Arizona, along with Flotsam & Jetsam and Sacred Reich, who crawled out of the desert in the mid-late 80's and made names for themselves on the sprawling thrash metal scene. Originally called Heresy, Atrophy caught the attention of Roadrunner/Roadracer Records, and their debut for the label , Socialized Hate, was recorded and released for the label in 1988. This is pedal-to-the-metal stuff here, complete with breakneck rhythms, razor sharp guitar riffs, and snarling vocals. The band was made up of drummer Tim Kelly, guitarists Rick Skowron & Chris Lykins, singer Brian Zimmerman, and bassist James Gulota.
The pace on most of the songs is frenetic, so things move along very quickly throughout Socialized Hate. Not unlike peers such as Exodus, Overkill, Heathen, Flotsam & Jetsam, and Megadeth, Atrophy favored speedy tempos punctuated by intricate riffs, wild solos excursions, and manic rhythms, evident on songs such as "Killing Machine", "Matter of Attitude", and the spiraling riff-o-rama of "Preacher, Preacher". Of course, it wouldn't be an 80's thrash metal album without a song like "Beer Bong", which firmly sits in the Anthrax/SOD/Nuclear Assault school of silly mosh pit anthems, with lyrics that will appeal to anyone who ever attended a college frat party in their life. Anyone remember Black Label or Old Milwaukee? These and a few others of the cheaper beer manufacturers are mentioned, and you also get a loud belch at the end of the song, making for a brief and humorous piece that kind of breaks up the manic intensity of the rest of the album.
Other highlight tracks include the non-stop frenzy of the title track, the crunchy riffs of "Best Defense", and the head banging gem "Rest in Pieces", a song that contains some of Skowron & Lykins best riffs on the album. The vocals from Zimmerman are not bad, although he never really strays far from one style, which is sort of a higher pitched Tom G. Warrior (Celtic Frost), and despite his decent performance he could be seen as the weak link on this otherwise solid album. As with all the Roadrunner/Metal Mind reissues, this one comes with remastered sound, a slew of bonus material, and a digipack containing lyrics, bio, and photographs.
1. Socialized Hate [Multimedia Track]
2. Chemical Dependency
3. Killing Machine
4. Matter of Attitude
5. Preacher, Preacher
6. Beer Bong
7. Socialized Hate
8. Best Defense
9. Product of the Past
10. Rest in Pieces
11. Urban Decay
12. Chemical Dependency [*][Demo Version]
13. Rest in Pieces [*][Demo Version]
14. Preacher Preacher [*][Demo Version]