Founded in 2007, Sweden’s Anguish have experienced a number of line-up changes and creative dry spells. However, the start of a new decade for the band finds them reaching back to their roots and sounding reinvigorated after 2014’s “Mountain”. Vocalist and bass man, J Dee in particular sounds enthused by latest release “Magna Est Vis Suignah” whose creation has been a very natural process according to the front man. With David and Linus on guitars, Rasmus on drums, the now four piece outfit are set to thump the senses once again on their third full length album.
Big, crunchy chords with loads of doom announces “Blessed Be The Beast” with its’ very cool riff that immediately sticks in your head. Doleful and dark with a twisted, strained guitar break, it’s obvious from the beginning that this will be an interesting ride as classic black metal styles mix in. J Dee’s vocals are commanding; a thick growl but with enough clarity so the listener knows exactly where the band is coming from. There’s an odd air of majesty and elegance building into “Of The Once Ravenous” with its’ atmospheric and funereal tone. Bone dry drumming kicks it along with guitar work that has an unpredictability and a slanted quality that is intriguing. The riffs get even fuzzier on “Requiescat In Pace”; hypnotic auras surround vocals that have a Tom G Warrior sort of quality but are more guttural.
However good, the album’s strengths lie in the final two tracks. The weighty thud of “Elysian Fields Of Fire” is just classic sounding heavy metal. The mid-section is full of punchy riffs and vocals that have an undeniable sincerity about them. Subtle organ in the background provides a gothic doom overtone to closer “Our Daughters Banner”. The band steer towards a chugging, Paul Chain styled direction briefly before a haunting break creates an eerie atmosphere as J Dee masterfully paints a macabre scene in the imagination which beautifully captures the essence of the album.
Anguish have returned with a strong set of songs on an album that showcases their conceptual strengths and pushes against the sound of the traditional doom metal aesthetic. Well worth checking out.
(7/10 Johnny Zed)