Atrophy's sophomore release Violent By Nature takes the formula from their debut Socialized Hate and expands on it somewhat. The production from Bill Metoyer (who also worked with Slayer, DRI, and Flotsam & Jetsam) is more crisp this time around, and the arrangements have taken on a more technical edge as compared to the debut. As you can probably imagine from the odd cover art, Atrophy were intent on covering some topical issues on Violent By Nature, specifically children steriotypes, product testing on animals, the right to euthanasia, and the crumbling and destruction of the environment.
If you enjoyed Socialized Hate, there's no doubt you'll love this one as well, and probably enjoy it even more. By this time in 1990, the band were more of a fine-tuned machine, and it's obvious the time on the road and in the studio had greatly helped them achieve a level of professionalism that you don't always hear from a young band. Just listen to the crunchy yet slightly technical guitar patterns on songs like"In Their Eyes", "Puppies and Friends", "Slipped Through the Cracks", and the glorious title track, for signs of a band that has really grown up and matured together in just a few short years. Even singer Brian Zimmerman sounds more confident this time around, as his vocals command with a presence not unlike Chuck Billy from Testament on tunes like "Forgotten But Not Gone" and "Right to Die". The guitar solos from Rick Skowron and Chris Lykins are closer to the shredding variety on this album, with a greater feel for melody and taste, and relying less on noise and theatrics, but the riffs are rock solid and crisp, again with a certain level of technicality to them.
It's a shame that Atrophy are not as well remembered as some of the other mid-tier 80's thrash bands, as Violent By Nature is certainly as good if not better than many of the albums their contemporaries released in that time period. Perhaps if the band had been around in 1985 or 1986, when all the thrash hysteria started, they might have fared better. By 1990 when this album was released, the genre was already starting to fall apart and grunge was imminent. Regardless of how history turned out, Metal Mind Productions have put together a nice remaster here for those who never checked out Violent By Nature back in the day to do so now.
My one beef though, why put a video/multi-media track first on the CD?
1. Violent by Nature [Bootleg Video][*]
2. Puppies and Friends
3. Violent by Nature
4. In Their Eyes
5. Too Late to Change
6. Slipped Through the Cracks
7. Forgotten But Not Gone
8. Process of Elimination
9. Right to Die
10. Things Change
11. Suicide Pact [*][Demo Version]
12. Product of the Past [*][Demo Version]
13. Beer Bong [*][Demo Version]