An interesting word that pretty much means “to have the form of man,” Antropomorphia have been rumbling around in the Dutch underworld for two and a half decades now having 1st shat out their charmingly entitled Bowel Mutilation demo in 1992. I have to admit never really giving them any attention. Perhaps it’s due to the cartoonish ‘tits out’ cover art of the last couple of releases, (and let’s not even go to the image on 1st album Pure) it maybe their insistence of replacing the word “of” for “ov” at every opportunity and I guess having a pretty good idea of what they sounded like before I had even heard a note. So it’s time to give them a spin on their 4th full-lengther and see what they are all about. There must be something for Metal Blade to have them on board and them somewhat strangely being included on the line-up for this year’s Roadburn Festival?
There’s no big surprises here at first as the title track thickly rumbles in with a powerful drum salvo and thick bass groove. This isn’t the war torn barrage that one would anticipate from many of the well-renowned Dutch deathsters but there are plenty of Morbid Angles from the spiralling guitar department and gruff vocals from Ferry Damen who gets his Hate on admirably. Some slower textures come into play and it’s noted that they are not just about speed but are ably competent at injecting some more sinister atmospheres into their music. Naturally they have also been studying Satanism 101 and no doubt a pinch of Crowley and with numbers like ‘Suspiria de Profundis’ either De Quincey or at the least Dario Argento. As anticipated this is pretty much exactly as I had expected. It’s all suitably meaty and delivered well and in a fashion that should get heads banging away as they thickly furrow and flail away. There’s a massive sense of deja-vu about it all and even having never played the band before it feels like I known them well as “Lucifer” is growled out on numbers like ‘Murmur Of The Dead. The good thing about that I guess is that this is quick to identify with and easy to get into.
There is a spark of magick (yeah I did it too) on instrumental bridge ‘Ad Me Venite Mortui’ and tomb raiding is fully explored on stand out number ‘Crown Of The Dead’ which is a sinister sounding descent full of brooding malignancy. The slower approach here is really crushing and bears rotten fruit as it is delivered over time in a fashion that would do Behemoth proud. The addition of some female vocals also works wonders here and gives things a much needed extra dimension. The Sinful Rapture’ is cranked back up for the remainder of the album and it’s all solid enough and delivered honestly. There’s some good guitar textures and riffs that are sharp and pointy enough to cut yourself on and there’s nothing your average death head won’t enjoy here. There’s splendour in darkness as decreed by song titles and a bit of a putrid stench as the bowels (we are back to them) of the album are explored and even if my 1st encounter with Antropomorphia hasn’t made it essential to dip back into their earlier works, this was a fairly enjoyable if not overly memorable experience.
(7/10 Pete Woods)