Saturday, September 11, 2010

Anacrusis - Screams and Whispers

Lots of smoke on an album cover?
How original!

"Anacrusis: the note or sequence of notes which precedes the first downbeat in a bar." (Wikipedia)

Anacrusis choose  a fitting name, as their music have been ahead of the wave, preceding bands playing in the same vein of music. Their first album, which i hope to have the time to write it's own review, Suffering hour was thrash of unheard technicality. Gradually becoming more and more progressive in their sound, their fourth album, Screams and Whispers is an album that manages to be both progressive and thrashy, but also having emotional, melodic parts (in a very non-emo/gothic way)

The opening song, 'sound the alarm' is a good indicator for what the rest of the album has in store for us. It starts of with a calm synth, with heavy delay, before kicking in with a melodic, fast thrash riff. The bass does it's own unique line underneath. the next part is a part accentuating the "off" beats.
Here the guitar has a nice delay effect, creating a strong alien moodscape to the music.
The alien mood is enhanced by the vocalist, Ken Nardi, switching between a thrashy rasping, staccato shout, and a mellow, emotional, honest style. Later on, through the album, he also does more clinical "matter-of-fact" styled vocals, screams, and deeper, guttural noises.
In fact his vocal performance on this entire album is the best vocal performance i have ever heard on any album, any genre. His variety, intensity, softness, harshness and perfect conveying of emotion makes him deserving of recognition as not only one of the best vocalist in metal, but as one of the best vocalists of all time.

Apart from the Vocals, the most notable performance is that of the bass player. ever-present, demanding your attention almost as much as the guitars, doing harmonic fills, markings, melodic bass lines and syncopations. The tone is punchy, clear and in your ear, with lots of mid-tone at some times, like on "too many prophets", and deep, hard and with lots of "kick" at other times, like the deep, technical line under the chugging  on "grateful" .

The guitars  are varied, switching between thrashy riffs, melodic leads and beautiful harmonies. They also employ a ton of  highly mood-inducing effects, such as delay, phasers and more. While this could potentially get wanky, it is pulled off so perfectly on this album. Every effect used, is part of creating a moodscape. Great care was used in the process of when to employ these. However, the guitars on this album is the least extraordinary on this album.

One of the most unique aspects of this album is the use of synth. from simple filling out the sound, adding a staccato riff backing, playing melodies and chords, or marking the beat like you would use a cymbal. the synth is the secret ingredient of this album. It might not strike you right away, but with consecutive listens, you will know that the synth is the glue, that ties the songs together, and brings every song up from the great tier, and up to masterpiece status. It is also the main drive of some songs, like "brotherhood?" and "driven".

The individual performances being great, however, is only a minor part of the whole image. The composition of each individual song is top-notch, but just as important is the composition of the album. The album progresses nicely from a thrash oriented start to a more prog/experimental feeling towards the end. These songs later on the album keep surprising. Even after listening to this album literally 50 times, i still discover new details in some songs.

This level of perfect composition, and great songwriting in absolutly world class makes this album one of those few that truly deserve top marks.
10/10
Anacrusis - Screams and whispers (spotify) 
Download all their albums from Anacrusis.us
Screams and whispers (mediafire)



12 comments:

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