The Conductor's Departure
posted on 7/2006 By:
Like the genre or not, this year has seen its share of superb technical metal spearheaded by Decapitated’s Organic Hallucinosis as well as Spawn of Possession's, Noctambulant and Psycroptic’s Symbols of Failure. All good records in their own right, but also records I rarely revisit after I'm done reviewing them and that’s where Anata’s fourth offering, The Conductor’s Departure differs.
While Sweden’s Anata fit snugly into the tech death metal genre, their take on the style is even less immediate than their peers due to an almost otherworldly sense of melody and off kilter chord progression, not just choppy, angular thrusts of brutality, which they also have plenty of. If bands like Decapitated and Spawn of Possession are the vast, grating gears of some giant war machine, Anata are the aquatic equivalent, a svelte silent killer, sending out irregular torrents and currents in the black murk. The riffs are liquid; malleable and fluid but just as deadly vicious as anything Decapitated can conjure up and with a hint of saurian intelligence (I imagine due to PhD owning and published bassist Henrik Drake).
Guitarists Fredrik Schälin and Andreas Allenmark, while not household names, should be and deliver searing yet organic riff after riff, riffs with ridiculous layering and rhythmic subterfuge that often sounds like there’s 8 guitars playing. Just take swirling, dizzying opener “Downward Spiral Into Madness” which switches deftly into the blazing dextrous savagery of “Complete Demise” and the lucid duality of “Better Grieved Than Fooled” with frightening skill. The initial angular sway of “The Great Juggler” is a break of sorts before the blinding skill and layered vortex of “Cold Heart Forged in Hell”. As if to purposely show the listener they can rein things in a bit, “I Would Dream of Blood” has a classic almost Morbid Angel-ish crawl, but with the band’s trademark atonal layering, it’s something special to hear. “Disobedience Pays”, is a little too discombobulating for my tastes, but serves as a sheer display of cerebral musical talent.
After piecemeal instrumental “Children’s Laughter”, the album closes with the absolutely blistering possibly Nile-ish “Renunciation” and gargantuan, lengthy title track, which despite the technicality vs. attention span issue I have, is pulled off flawlessly as is the production that glosses this perfect release.
If you blew your wad over Psycroptic’s and Decapitated’s albums, get yourself some Viagra and get ready for another even more draining session.
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