AnomalieAbout a year ago I reviewed a debut album by Austrian group Harikiri For The Sky which was a shoe-gaze, ambient and Indie sounding take on post black metal. Marrok from that group and also Selbstentleibung has decided to pretty much go it alone on another new venture called Anomalie and combine elements of black metal and depressive rock in an experimental fashion taking it again far beyond the normal structures of orthodox blackness.

We just have six tracks here, one of which is a cover that I shall come to later but it strikes after a fair few spins that less is certainly more here and plenty to get an idea into what he has set out to achieve. Melody through maudlin gothic guitars take us into ‘Blinded’ which hypnotically weaves away. Vocals are gruff but clear to understand when they come in and there are also some hellacious yells and screams to be found backing them up as the music ploughs in fully and the drumming evolves into a brief welter of beats. A guitar solo spills out, apparently provided by MS his companion in Harikiri and Bifrost and the track adds plenty more textures, changing shape and speed as it progresses. It’s pretty convincing and mature sounding and obviously has quite a lot of passion within its expansive time frame. ‘Not Like Others’ is obviously a song about alienation and it starts off with a news report sampled about a school shooting. There is a feeling of pervading doom and gloom here, melody is counterpoised reminding a bit of the strum of earlier Katatonia and also the likes of Austere, Woods Of Desolation etc. “I hated myself for so many years” comes the indignant rough gravelly vocal roar and it’s not difficult to feel some kindred spirit with the disenfranchisement that the song has at its heart.

There’s definite peaks and troughs within the music which at time rages and at others as at the start of ‘Tales Of A Dead City’ becomes reflective and ponderous sounding as though it has escaped from 80’s post punk before it suddenly lurches for the throat and bites back in. It really does feel rather personal at times a bit like dipping into the diary of someone about to go postal, the fact that the vocals are understandable is very important. If you are worried about it being too emotive, no need to worry, as at times it blazes hell for leather and don’t be surprised to encounter some neat reverb driven death grunts either. Atmospherically this does the job and the artist has no problems drawing songs out into 8 minute or so lengths with enough going on in them to keep up interest.

Perhaps that cover is unnecessary but it suits the mood of the album perfectly and besides I doubt there is likely to be a single listener who does not know Nine Inch Nails classic ‘Hurt’ or for that matter able to stop themselves joining in on the vocals. All in all this is a good first slab of morose blackness which could well lead to even greater work in the future, as long as the composer keeps enriching themselves in anger and melancholia.  Great cover art too!

(7/10 Pete Woods)