It’s been a while since we’ve heard new material from NWOFHM (that’ll be the New Wave of Finnish Heavy Metal!) band Steel Mammoth; their last release being Nuclear Rebirth in late 2011. Their sound had evolved quite a bit since their earlier psychedelic-hard-rock days, morphing into a splice between heavy metal and punk in later releases – a sound they have stuck with for their 2017 release, Atomic Oblivion.
There isn’t even a hint of an intro as opening track “Heavy Muscle Tissue” launches straight into action and is a promising beginning to the album, with some nice riffs sprinkled in but it doesn’t really leave a lasting impression. Unfortunately, this is a theme which is carried for much of the album. Song after song goes by without a stand-out moment, not giving the listener any reason to ever listen to it again.
The lyrics are very basic and involve the vocalist, who has a unique but not necessarily attractive style, doing a lot of repeating. “Armageddon Speed” – the longest track on the album, clocking in at six minutes and forty-four seconds – is a good example of this excessive repeating. The phrase “perpetual motion machine” is inexplicably wailed a total of fourteen times and makes up the entire second half of the song.
Second track, “Shit Testament” is something of a saving grace and is probably the only song on the album worth listening to again. It’s kind of like early Grinspoon minus the vocal prowess of Phil Jamieson and would sound great live in a pub. Sadly, it’s also the shortest track on the album, with a total running time of just one minute and forty seconds.
Overall, the song writing is basic, the riffs are repetitive and tedious and the fuzzy recording quality doesn’t do Atomic Oblivion any favours. Its short running length of just 34 minutes means there is not much content there to begin with, yet there is somehow quite a bit of filler present. With the exception of a few glimmers of hope, there isn’t really much salvageable from this nuclear meltdown of an album. 3/10