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Socialized Hate

United States Country of Origin: United States

Socialized Hate
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Type: Full-Length
Release Date: November 7th, 1988
Genre: Thrash
1. Chemical Dependency
2. Killing Machine
3. Matter Of Attitude
4. Preacher, Preacher
5. Beer Bong
6. Socialized Hate
7. Best Defense
8. Product Of The Past
9. Rest In Pieces
10. Urban Decay

Review by Felix on March 26, 2024.

The release of Atrophy's debut was accompanied by a big hype; as always, I am referring here, first and foremost, to the situation in good old Germany. My metal bible of the eighties, the RockHard magazine, announced the next big thing and, as far as I can remember, even the Metal Hammer shared this opinion, albeit these pitiful wimps usually did not appreciate thrash bands very much. Allergic against any form of controlled hysteria, my metal brother and me became sceptical. Nevertheless, one of us had to scrape his pocket money together in order to buy the album. Due to our collaborative method, this time the finger of fate pointed at me, while he was looking out for the products of glorious formations such as Hallows Eve, Dark Angel and so on.

To come directly to the point, "Socialized Hate" is almost overloaded with tightly performed thrash metal. Each and every song achieves a solid level of power, aggression and, last but not least, musicality, but only a relatively small number of tracks stand out, at least in comparison with milestones such as "Bonded by Blood" or "Darkness Descends". Please be aware of the fact that this debut was published in the golden days of thrash. No month passed without having seen a new masterpiece, but "Socialized Hate" does not deserve this seal of approval. Its first track lacks of the explosive force of comparable openers such as "Chalice of Blood" or "Plunging to Megadeath". The fifth track, "Beer Bong", wants to be funny, yet there is only a very thin line between fun and stupidity. Fortunately, the remaining pieces of the A side are more serious and offer mature song structures, intelligently designed riffs and this kind of choruses that score with the perfect balance between pressure and catchiness. "Matter of Attitude" is my personal favourite, because its sharp lines are perfectly supplemented by very well written lyrics about the ignorance of self-declared individualists and complacent elitist groups. Who is not familiar with these apologists of idiocy? The text is penned by guitarist Chris Lykins and this clever dude has something to say. The lyrics of the title track are also anything else but stupid, even though one does not fully agree with the content.

By the way, the title track kicks off the B side and, strange duplicity, it suffers from the same symptoms as the opener. Instead of being a flagship of the full-length, it appears as just another acceptable thrash song. The creation of a five minutes piece is not yet a speciality of the guys from Arizona. So what. Irrespective of their different levels of velocity, the following numbers have more punch. The sinister "Product of the Past" proves that thrash metal does not necessarily need a high tempo in order to be impressive. With the exception of a short mid-paced part, it is slowly creeping forward in a menacing manner, based on a strong riff and a desperate chorus. The brilliant lyrics appear as a variation of "Like Father, Like Son", the hellish scenario of Exodus about domestic violence and its long-term effects. Needless to say that Lykins has written the lyrics. "Rest in Pieces" and "Best Defense" are the further pearls of the B side. Equipped with genuine riffing and an appropriate amount of breaks, they have the same vibes as many early tracks of Forbidden or Testament. Regrettably, one has to say that Brian Zimmerman is not a very charismatic singer. He does not lack of motivation and dedication, but his ordinary voice proves itself to be problematic. Without making serious mistakes, he cannot hold a candle in comparison with Russ Anderson or Chuck Billy.

As expected, Bill Metoyer had forged a good sound and therefore it was beyond doubt that "Socialized Hate" enriched the thrash community. Nevertheless, the artificially generated hype had not been justified and the fact that Atrophy unfortunately released only two albums did not speak for the toughness of the guys. Yet aside from the hyperbolic media, "Socialized Hate" was - and still is - a cleverly arranged album that did not propagate any form of violence. Guess my metal brother shares my rating.

Rating: 7.7 out of 10