Kentucky black/death metallers Anagnorisis have just recently released their third outing, which sees them still quite strong after the release of their last record, Beyond All Light. That disc actually scored a 91% (of two reviews) which would see it as a tough hill to climb. Like similar black metal records of the modern era, there are definitely post metal moments here, but also elements of more depressing doom acts like Swallow The Sun for example. It's decidedly a pained listen, which would probably come off a little bit better without the voice clips in opener “Disgust and Remorse.” I get what they were trying to do, but sometimes it's better to let the music speak for itself, without the clips. Or at least put them at the beginning/end of a song. I'd hope that a live performance of that piece wouldn't include the clips as I'd be pretty pissed at that point. Thankfully, the second part of the song merely observes atmosphere in the middle as it focuses more on the raw and unhinged black metal that this band seem to be quite proficient at. The sound is overly grim, a bit hopeless and feels just as I might expect a record of this nature to come off. It's quite sorrowful, like mixing a nineties black metal release with funeral doom and throwing in some acoustic bits, atmospheres and various soundclips to tell an equally depressing story. But seeing as these guys live in Kentucky, I'm sure there's not much to be excited about. It's the same here, really.
When we get into “5306 Morningside” I start to get a little bit more upset however, because these guys thought it would be a great idea to allow the vocalist to perform vocals while the soundclips were playing in the middle of the song. At that moment, I have to cringe just a little. Is the frontman not able to convey his feelings within the music well enough that you must pattern over that with sound clips? Are you a metal act or an industrial one? This is getting a little bit incessant. Soundclips can be very useful in softer portions of songs. Most bands use them to open and close pieces. Sometimes they are utilized during a soundscape to built the mood. But never are they useful right in the middle of a song, unless the form of music is electronic and these soundclips act as an instrument. Thankfully, the clips start to fade just as the song really gets in gear and only the first couple of vocal lines on the track are muddied by these effects.
“Night Skies Over Nothingness” actually allows us to hear the band clip-free and with a real sense of bite. There are some thick grooves in areas that work well with the harsh vocal performance and ghostly keyboard antics. A definite winner for me. The title cut features more clips in the beginning, but this isn't a problem as it really continues to show the band's strength, as well as their excellent keyboard playing. The death metal influence in the band also manages to shine through here, making for a surprisingly punchier sound than the first couple of tracks have offered, showing that these guys have the ability to get angry in addition to heavy moping. There's nothing wrong with a morose sound and style, I know that quite well – but it's good to see a bit of unbridled rage and seventies keyboard prog theatrics as well. It's also great to hear some real guitar shredding on “Metamorphosis” which seems to show that these gentlemen are actually a hell of a lot better than you might expect them to be. There's a section of the cut where drum blasts intertwine with a real bout of shredding and that has to be my favorite moment on the whole album. I don't think I've ever heard a solo that intricate playing at the same time as a kit that was completely on fire, at least from the sound of things. Usually, you're going to have a hard time being able to discern any bit of guitar while the drums are pounding as loudly and with such ferocity in the mix as they were here. But I have a feeling that these guys know what they're doing as far set-ups go, which is why I was able to hear that solo section pretty well in the mix.
Peripeteia is a realtively strong black metal album in my opinion, and it's probably a bit of a change from the prior. I don't know, I haven't heard it. But I feel that maybe some of the soundclips and things might have been a bit much for them this time around and might detract listeners a little bit. I'm not sure if they were trying to tell a story or not, but it's definitely a less is more situation as far as that is concerned. They do play live, so I would assume that's the best way to hear this one.
(8 Tracks, 53:00)