Anicon – Exegeses (vinyl Gilead Media / CD Avantgarde Music, 08 July 2016)
Good morning, reader — hope you’re having a good, relaxing weekend! Normally this would be my time away from writing, too, but I just realized that Anicon are coming to Pittsburgh tonight. And I realized that last year when these blackened Brooklynites came to town, I had their 2015 EP Aphasia on my to-do list, but something came up that prevented me from attending that show or even getting a chance to write about the band’s most recent release. (I eventually did get around to it earlier this year, but I still felt bad for my negligence.)
So this time around, the band has a brand-new album which just came out earlier this month, and — even though, due to some rotten luck, family obligations will prevent me from being able to see this fantastic band perform again — I definitely did not want to miss the opportunity to share this with you people before tonight.
For those of you in the Pittsburgh area, The Smiling Moose on the Southside is the place to be; here are all the details. For those living elsewhere, the band’s scheduled dates can be found here, and in either case, keep reading to check out their newest record …
When the Aphasia EP was described as a demo recording leading up to a full-length expected sometime this year, my expectation was that this album would include new versions of those three songs plus maybe a couple more. And I’m sure no one would have complained about that. But instead, Exegeses (which is, of course, the plural of “exegesis” or an interpretation of sacred texts) features seven songs never heard before, totalling about forty-nine minutes of high-quality, forward-thinking black metal.
Well, that’s not completely accurate; like all of the band’s previous material, this is difficult to classify and describe in just a word or two. Generally fast-moving, with the double-kick and blastbeats, frequent galloping guitars and bass, and harsh snarled vocals that all typify black metal — these songs also feature hairpin turns and directional shifts (but they all seem precisely mapped out, not confusing and unpredictable like grindcore can be), complex structures with lengthy passages and tangential sections (but not as ungrounded or wanky as progressive sometimes is), and intelligently constructed riffs (complicated, but not needlessly so, or lacking in soul or organic energy which sometimes mars the more technical metal genres).
Very dark in tone, and dense in its arrangement, this album feels like the perfect soundtrack for a downward voyage, with handbasket-style conveyance. It’s definitely the sort of thing that takes repeated listens to really delve into all of its intricacies (similar to fellow Brooklyn bands like Krallice and Imperial Triumphant). But after giving it a few spins, “Robed in Torments” and “From Teeth, From Tongue” have emerged as standouts — partly because portions of each track are done in a pseudo-waltz time (which I’ve always had an affinity towards when it comes to black metal) and because they both just have such an epic arrangement, conjuring up thoughts of “Hallowed Be Thy Name” or “Seventh Son of a Seventh Son” in terms of their sheer grand scale. But again, there really isn’t a dull moment to be found throughout the entire record.
Grab your own copy of Exegeses here, or you can listen using the Bandcamp player below.
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