Anomalie - Between the Light (Art of Propaganda)

A great debut from Anomalie, taking black metal to new creative places!
Release Date: 
27 Jan 2014 (All day)

Anomalie from Austria is a post black metal project founded in 2011 by Marrok, who plays ‘everything’ on this their debut album. The album Between the Light is very aptly ‘dedicated to the forlorn souls of our time!’

The album retains many of the core elements of black metal, but adds a post-metal melodic sensibility, with lots of surprising musical contrasts and nuances.

The opening track Blinded welcomes you into the world of post black metal, with a deceptively almost dance like rhythm. Then the trademark distorted black metal guitar sound kicks in, followed by whispered then growled vocals. This intoxicating juxtaposition with a dance type beat increasingly falls apart, to be totally destroyed by the blast beats, as they push their way in. A pastoral guitar styling provides a fascinating diversion before the blast beats hit again. It's a challenging listen, because there is so much going on, but stay with it, it’s worth it.

Second track Not Like Others begins with chilling snippets of news about 'shooting rampages'. It has a full on dark musical atmosphere with a gentle shimmering guitar interlude. A song that really disturbs as well as engages.

Tales of a Dead City has an almost catchy guitar opening. It’s very fast and dynamic and would be I suspect brilliant played live, where it would be so immersive. It reminds me a little of Watain in full flight. There is what sounds like a female vocal, part of the way through the song, and an emotional shout of "there is no way out" near the end, followed by some immense blast beats. My favourite track!

Oxymora has a sound-scape feel, for me suggesting a bleak snowbound landscape. I love the changes of pace: slow and building, melodic and wistful, fast and intense. "I will live my life" is said at one point, and it seems both defiant and poignantly resigned. A really great song.

The penultimate track Recall to Life has a beautiful piano and keyboards opening, which you wish would carry on for a bit longer. The full on musical attack that follows completely shatters that, and the song has a really epic black metal feel. There is in the latter part of the song a fabulous fade out with the bass guitar, before the moody guitar riff comes back in…and of course a beautiful return finish with the piano.

And so to the final track, a magnificent cover of the Nine Inch Nails classic Hurt, with additional vocals by JJ from Karg, on the second verse and chorus. The contrasting expressive clean and death growl vocals on the chorus, and beautiful guitar solo, really add to this new take on a well-known song. The melody played on the guitar really builds the atmosphere, and the emotional intensity builds throughout the length of the song. A rarity of a cover, which adds new layers to a classic song.

I really liked this album and there is a real talent at work here, taking black metal into new areas. The only thing I felt might be done differently to further enhance what is here, is a more dynamic production, which might for example lift the blast beats a little more out of the mix. Never the less, a fine album.