What we have here is a textbook case of mustache metal! To qualify as mustache metal, your band must meet a few criteria. First off, you’ll need to be from the mid-eighties. Second, you must be European. You’ll also need to play fast, and you’ll need to sing with a thick accent (preferably German). Next, add just a pinch of melody. Sprinkle in some light Satanism, and garnish with lousy, ten-cent production values. Finally, to complete the package, you’ll need a sparse, wispy mustache. (See pic below.)
Germany’s Atlain debuted in 1984 with Living In The Dark. All the qualities we know and love about mustache metal were served up on a platter by ol’ Atlain. Living In The Dark came out on Earthshaker/Mausoleum Records — a hotbed of poorly produced ‘stache metal. Atlain’s Germanity took care of much of the rest.
Living In The Dark was produced by Axel Thubeauville, a former A&R man for Mausoleum Records (Most notably, he was responsible for ‘discovering’ Warlock and signing them to Mausoleum.) He was also the founder of Earthshaker Records. In 1984 he started Earthshaker Records in order to release Steeler’s self-titled debut album. (Steeler was another band that Axel ‘discovered’.) However, Earthshaker Records and Mausoleum Records maintained a working partnership. In fact, Mausoleum re-released Steeler after Thubeauville was unable to successfully market the LP through his own channels. Earthshaker’s next release was a re-mix of Living Death’s LP, Vengeance Of Hell, which was originally released by Mausoleum. The next four Earthshaker releases were co-released by Mausoleum. These albums were Brainfever’s Capture The Night, Fact’s As A Matter Of…, Steeltower’s Night Of The Dog, and Atlain’s Living In The Dark. So in the early going, it appears that Earthshaker still needed Mausoleum’s help to distribute and market their albums. Earthshaker went on to release several more albums on their own until 1986.
Living In The Dark starts off promising with Hallowed By The Priest and Living In The Dark. But after that, the song quality fades fast. In the end, Living In The Dark is scrappy stuff, but not exactly a lost gem. My score: C