Big Black - Atomizer
(Touch & Go)


Off the beaten path that is the American Punk Rock movement and all its various shapes and sizes, there is a band, an intolerant machine, an amalgam of extremity. That band is Big Black. More often than not when discussing the recorded discography of Big Black, you are told that Songs About Fucking is thee album, and rightfully so, as it is a perfect album by a fully realized band who have maximized their potential. But the greatness of that record and of this band starts with another album, and that album is called Atomizer. At first glance, Atomizer looks as if it's the debut album as no other full-lengths come before it. This is not so. Big Black began releasing music in 1982, Atomizer was released in 1986. After 4+ years of incubation, calibration, and experimentation, Big Black was ready to record and release a proper album and that sense of purpose and total confidence is explicit from the moment the needle drops. Big Black is a singularity in that all defining traits of this band are owned and patented. There is no mistaking the Big Black sound once it has been heard. It's the immediacy of punk rock meets the premeditated perfectionism of more technologically dependent bands which is an incredible achievement within itself. They were a band that believes in both singing about things that are meaningful and meaningless but with the same vigor and conviction applied to both.
Webster's Dictionary defines the word extreme as, “of a character or kind farthest removed from the ordinary or average.” This sums up the personality and presence of Big Black's head honcho Steve Albini without question. By the end of Track 1 on Atomizer, you hear Steve Albini wailing in pain and terror and shame, now playing the character trapped inside the lyrics of the song. By this point, the listener has a pretty clear idea of what they are in for as Big Black is a band completely committed to their cause. This is an album made up of some of the sharpest textures and most unabashed content both from its time, and certainly since. Atomizer is statement of purpose for the band and a clear indication of what would lie ahead. Big Black would never get any less extreme and over time they would only refine their power more and more until there was nothing left to do but explode. Which is exactly what they did. Here is your chance to trace this essential band back to the moment the fuse was lit. (Adam)
Check out a track here.