Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Animus - Poems For The Aching, Swords For The Infuriated

Animus - 5 (excerpt)

So I've been in this weird metal groove lately. Not just any metal, though. Black metal. A very specific type of black metal. I can be pretty picky within certain genres of music, and black metal is definitely one of them. I don't have any universal defining characteristics of the type of BM I listen to but it's generally very raw and full of buzz (see Offerblod, Flaskavsae, Xasthur). It's usually pretty oppressive and depressing, too. Sometimes it's full of rage and others it's melancholy, but it often sounds like it's being played through a pair of really shitty speakers.

This Animus album that I just got, Poems For The Aching, Swords For The Infuriated fits the bill perfectly. It's fucking relentless. This guy pummels through some long tracks (the shortest being 6 minutes, the longest at 13), and he never stops going. Almost every song is full on destruction from start to end. And man is this stuff impenetrable. The buzz envelopes you, like a security blanket with spikes. It's awesome.

After the first two tracks (there's only 6 total), everything calms down and out comes the ballad. Yeah, a black metal ballad. It's as bizarre as it is amazing. It sounds like an electric guitar and bass with shit-tons of reverb, covered in thick fuzz. No drums. Just guitars and vocals. And the vocals are what make this thing really haunting. Super raspy, like a prehistoric toad that's been smoking all his life and now has throat cancer. It kind of reminds me when Staind did that acoustic song that everyone creamed themselves over. The fans of their traditional sound were surprised when they went unplugged, but it still fit. Yeah, track 3 is missing a lot of the usual BM elements, but it still belongs on the album.

That's the only respite, however. The next 3 tracks return to the dark metal depths of despair and never come back. This is one wretched, dismal soul. And apparently quite dedicated. The only liner notes say "Animus is none and nothing but sheer artistic devotion. No words, no musical notes - emotions." If I had any paternal instincts, I'd want to give this guy a pat on the head and tell him everything would be OK. That would never happen though. I'd much rather have him keep producing this bleak metal buzz. That doesn't make me a bad person, does it?

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