Anomalie: Between the Light

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Anomalie: Between the Light
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Anomalie: Between the Light
Depessive Rock, Post-Black Metal
Art of Propaganda Music
January 27th, 2014
Release length: 42:29
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Anomalie formed back in 2011 by a man named Marrok (Selbstenteibung, Harakiri for the Sky). The goal for this solo operation was a noble one. According to the press release, Anomalie exists to “Combine [Marrok’s] favorite elements of emotional Black Metal, Post Metal, and Depressive Rock.” After two years of writing, we are facing the debut full-length album Between the Light, a release dedicated “to the forlorn souls of our time!” But does it live up to those expectations, or is this far from an impressive experience?

Between the Light starts off with a mid-tempo Black Metal foundation against some depressive hooks that are simply beautiful. The whole piece sounds like a mixture of later-career Sentenced with modern Katatonia, and it works perfectly. There are times the clean riffs become a bit sharper, such as around the seven minute mark, and aren’t afraid to throw some faster material just shy of blast beats to reflect the modern take on the genre as well. The deeper shouting is also worth noting due to how it actually lends a sombre touch to the music that, as if assuring all will be fine if you just let go and slip away. All of this weaves a truly moving piece with the potential of making you hold back tears.

“Oxymora” starts off creeping and frost-bitten. The snow-capped despair sadly grows into a typical Depressive Black Metal cut, but the pacing and transitions are superb. This really shows about four-and-a-half minutes in when the song changes to more of a glorious output with deeper shouting once more, aiding some of the reflective leads that the increasingly tight drumming only amplifies. This sets up “Recall to Life” perfectly. The gothic Beseech-like keyboards are simply moving and carry over into the furious misery-soaked blasting that erupts just past the three minute mark flawlessly. There’s a subtle hysteria to the vocals after this point that end up the polar opposite of what appears on “Blinded,” sometimes giving the sensation of frustration and a refusal to just fade away.

“Tales of a Dead City” is a faster track that immediately hits the listener with an infectious groove that even seems laced with some early Goth Rock along the lines of The Cult, even throwing in some additional female clean singing about two minutes in. By the half way point, the performance really does start changing itself around, offering up some aggressive traditional Black Metal that contrasts the earlier somewhat upbeat music as it shifts from fast Symphonic Black Metal performances along the line of Emperor to your standard mid-tempo riffs. It seems a bit unjust given how the song starts, but the impressive guitar solo at the end does manage to bring it back to the atmosphere of the start at least.

That Goth Rock touch also appears in the short closing track “Hurt,” which is a Nine Inch Nails cover. Sadly, it’s just not good. The music itself is ok, but the vocal choices are often rough to sit through thanks to poor layering that often isn’t on key with the other deeper clean singing, or just sounds bad against the disgusting rasps that hit half way through. Chances are you’ll end up skipping this one after a few spins, unlike “Not Like Others,” which falters not from poor music, but like “Hurt,” its just not good. The introduction takes a minute to establish a time and place, if not a reference to one in the form of news anchors discussing the unfolding situation of the Columbine school shooting back in 2001. The vocals are harsher, and it works for the additional aggression found in the music behind the depressing leads. Sadly it just doesn’t have the same impact as some of the others, even when the clean chords usher in a slower pace a little more than four minutes in. The drumming does create a catchy rhythm six-and-a-half minutes in that is really short lived, paving the way for a nice conclusion that has more emotion behind it than the first six minutes had.

Between the Light will grab you with “Blinded,” pouring on mournful beauty with depressing Rock riffs against a perfectly balanced Black Metal finish. But, after that, the release does get a bit shaky with mildly traditional Depressive Black Metal material, far less emotional performances and atmospheres, and just downright bad vocal decisions to end an otherwise highly enjoyable release. This isn’t to say that this album itself is bad. While not everything may cast an emotional shadow, the music works for nearly every song and even the longest tracks resist the urge to throw in filler to add an extra minute or two. Many flow so well that you’ll reach the end and feel like you only listened to it for half the length. While Between the Light does have a sound that needs a little more nurturing, it definitely is a strong sign that Anomalie

01. Blinded – 8:29
02. Not Like Others – 7:31
03. Tales of a Dead City – 7:47
04. Oxymora – 6:13
05. Recall to Life – 8:05
06. Hurt – 4:24
Initial Pressing Score: 7/10

Anomalie
Anomalie

Digital review copy of this release provided by Art of Propaganda Music via Against PR.