In the history of music, there are many examples of misunderstood artists and those who didn’t quite fit into their time or place. And although Atrocious Filth falls into this category to some extent, it would be an unjust simplification to force it into the pigeonhole of ‘unfulfilled hopes’, because this band hasn’t yet expressed its last word. It still pulsates with new, extremely intriguing music…
The biography of Atrocious Filth, however, can be traced back a long way. The band was formed in the autumn of 1991 in Olsztyn by Krzysztof ‘Docent’ Raczkowski (drums, ex-Vader), Sławomir ‘Małeg’ Jóźwiak (bass) and Andrzej ‘Andzia’ Choromański (guitar). Over the next few years, the line-up included Leszek ‘Shambo’ Rakowski (ex-Vader & Slashing Death), Maciej Iwan and Tomasz ‘Yogi’ Adamski. In 1994, the group recorded its first album, 100% Jesus. The recordings were done in the Złota Skała studio owned by Robert Brylewski – a legend of the Polish punk and alternative scene. The debut material was originally available only as a cassette (the CD was released 14 years later!), and the music featured on it fit into the trend of industrial metal popular in the 1990s. Even then, however, it stands out for its unconventional approach to arrangements and compositional structures. For many listeners, it’s too ‘difficult’ and exploratory, while for those searching for avant-garde sounds, it’s too brutal and rooted in metal clichés. As a result, the band unfortunately shared the fate of many experimental groups of the era (such as Kobong, Kinsky and Multicide), and ceased performing with a feeling of unfulfillment. The members of Atrocious Filth turned their focus to other artistic activities and temporarily stepped away from active involvement in music.
However, the desire to create music began to stir in the musicians again, and 20 years after the release of its debut album, the band is reinventing itself with a fresh line-up. In 2016, the mini-album Moans was released, defining the group’s present-day sound but also testifying to a continuation of the musical paths it had followed two decades earlier. The band was joined by a new vocalist, Tomasz Bardega (ex-Nyia, Third Degree) and drummer, Rafał Litwin (Slaidize). Recently, Atrocious Filth has been wrestling with the successive reshuffles of its line-up while sporadically touring and operating in a more ad hoc than permanent mode, which in time will prove to be a characteristic opus moderandi of the band.
In 2020, Atrocious Filth, consisting of Andrzej Choromanski, Tomasz Bardega and Leszek Rakowski, finally entered a studio to record its second full-length album with sound engineer and producer Bartlomiej Kuzniak. In January 2021, OVV was released. The album is as enigmatic as its cover. It presents more questions than answers, and is wildly intense but also quite lyrical. In terms of sound, it’s powerful metal but without a threatening atmosphere or off-putting pathos. While formally complicated, the music doesn’t intimidate the listener with technical acrobatics. Atrocious Filth’s music sounds as if it were created in a timeless dimension. It’s so distinct and unique that it’s impossible to ascribe it to any particular trend or era in heavy music. OVV delivers the music of tomorrow that is happening today.
© Łukasz Dunaj (Noise Magazine)