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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

408 of 1001 Albums: Big Black's Atomizer

Big Black definitely sounds like an innovative punk band for 1986. It isn't as reminiscent of what we associate with the genre as The Clash or Ramones are. Thankfully, if you get the album there is a note included with some versions explaining the songs. The shaky sounds and distorted vocals are staple of this album though, and provide it with a certain appeal for some fans.

History: Big Black's Atomizer is an album that is popular with critics. In 1986 the lyrics of the album caught the public's attention with the particular violent content, which includes discussing being set on fire  like in Kerosene. The band had some struggles though with the album, like their record label going behind their back's to market. On top of that the band just doesn't seem naturally kind to all fans anyways, even taking a jab at fans who bought the CD format of the music because one member was personally against the digital format.


Vocals: Steve Albini is the vocalist, and the one who hates CDs. I wonder what he thinks of MP3s? If anything though he is a very passionate guy about music. In this album they do get really innovative, and introduce us to some of the first sounds of industrial rock. I would actually associate them more with industrial than punk music. Albini's voicing is distorted for much the album. It isn't the easiest to understand and blends a lot into the instrumentals.

Instrumentals: A wide of arrange of instruments are used. Everything from a drumming machine program to the likes of guitar and bass. You also have Iain Burgess as the recording engineer. This definitely contributes to the gritty vibe of the industrial sound that fans would enjoy. It also is a very prominent sound that would go on to span a whole new likes of bands to follow. The thing is sometimes the album sounds so distorted it's difficult to enjoy the tunes, unless you're listening to Kerosene.

Recording: The recording definitely doesn't sound like the 80's, so hearing this, it doesn't sound way ahead of the times. It's in line with some of the more popular sounds that were to come in the 90's following this album. The punk vibe though is traditional in nature with edgy lyrics, and a rebellious tone that is heavy throughout the album.

Big Black is a band that is very direct in what they are about and the fans they are targeting. If you aren't the fan they had hoped would be listening to their music they are quite vocal about how they feel about that too. If anything can be said about the guys they are passionate about the music they make and they don't mind getting creative in a time already heavy with various sounds.


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