Anterior: Echoes of the Fallen

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Anterior: Echoes of the Fallen
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Anterior: Echoes of the Fallen
Metalcore
Metal Blade Records
September 13th, 2011
Release length: 44:28
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Anterior is a Metalcore group that comes to us from Wales in the United Kingdom. Throughout the years since forming in 2003, the group has remained pretty stable, having only to replace the drummer of the group, but sadly on two different occassions. It was about four years after the group came together that they put out their debut offering, This Age of Silence, which actually gained quite a deal of positive feedback from both the critics, as well as fans. Another four years have passed, and the group has issued their latest album, Echoes of the Fallen. But, what exactly does Anterior have in store for us this time?

Given the label Echoes of the Fallen is being released through, it should come as no real surprise that the audio quality here does feel clean, though a little rougher and heavier to give it enough of a bite to stick out. The guitars have a deeper sound to them that works to give a bit of a blunt feel to the album while the bass is pretty obvious in the mix. This allows that instrument’s input to actually make a bit more of an impact with it’s louder, yet a little lighter in pitch sound that becomes more then just a supporting instrument, though it doesn’t do much but play the similar guitar chords sadly. But, given the style, that’s to be expected. There can be an issue at times where the guitars can feel bland and make the music come through hollow, but this is largely due to the chords being played and how generic they are for the Metalcore style, such as during “To Live Not Remain,” which can effectively kill the mood the song has built up. The drumming here is pretty good as well with cymbols that crash loud enough that they come through good for the music, though not really bringin a commanding presence with them. The same can be said about the snares which sound a little hollow but still rather tight against a deep bass-driven thud that borders a click on the bass kicks. But, amid all of this, the vocals manage to stand up well. These handled in a more traditional Metalcore screaming approach, though there are times where they obviously are given harmonization to the Metalcore hooks, and even have a bit of an emotional pull to them like with “Of Gods and Men” which causes them to stand out compared to if the group went the traditional route of just picking up the microphone and screaming into it as loud as possible without incorporating any range.

Throughout the album, you’ll find plenty of solid tracks that can immediately have your head banging along or find yourself feeling as though you are making an emotional connection to the material. However, there are also times where you just won’t really be able to get too into the music. Sadly, the latter can sum up some of the material when the album begins, though Echoes of the Fallen doesn’t really start off with their worst foot forward. “To Live Not Remain” really just feels like your generic Metalcore song, and does feel a little more on the hollow side thanks to the guitar work being so simple. But, while the music may have that issue, there’s a good Melodic Death Metal touch here at times that helps progress the music, as well as shape a rather moving atmosphere to the song that comes through as if overcoming some sort of serious depression or negative issue. On top of that, the chorus is simply strong. “Tyranny” shows more of the band’s traditional Metalcore sound, though again it establishes a decent atmosphere. Sadly, that’s not really enough to save it. The song itself doesn’t really have that much going for it other then the slower emotional choruses against faster, heavier verses, both of which are nothing too special and can even feel a bit too similar to early Trivium and other bands of that nature. Even the guitar solo here doesn’t really come through as too impressive.

It’s the tracks of the album that don’t necessarily cater to the traditional Metalcore sound that really stand out the most though. “Of Gods and Men” has plenty of strong elements to it, including a really impressive guitar solo, and genuinely richer sounding music despite some of the slower material that starts the track off and retains through much of it. The more emotional sounding guitars accompanied by nicely paced drumming makes this one of the many songs that you’ll find yourself headbanging along to for much of the time, and even the breakdown at the very end works well into the song thanks to it’s far more intense approach, the additional push from the bass, and Melodic Death Metal lead hooks that eventually play over it, closing the track out nicely as it goes back into the catchy music prior to the the first solo as it fades to silence. “By Horror Haunted” kick starts the track immediately with some intricate guitar work that is simply amazing and keeps that surge of energy from the previous track going, even during this one’s slowest moments. Again, it’s the catchiness brought on by the melodic riffs and paced drumming coupled with the rich atmosphere that really makes this an emotional ride, though outside the introduction and the chorus, you won’t really find your head bobbing or banging along to the music. Instead you’ll be more content taking in the environment that Anterior establishes.

But of all the songs, none pack as much energy as “Blood in the throne Room.” That song is easily one of the band’s shining moments, and shows them really not catering as much to the traditional sound of Metalcore, feeding that approach more of a Melodic Death Metal sound that you can clearly tell the band is enjoyable thanks to the speed, enthusiasm, and overall intensity of the track. The only song it can compare to on this effort is “Venomous” which easily matches it in speed periodically, and just feels a lot stronger then other due to all the same reasons. The aggression the band brings in is far more impressive though, and at times it really can feel like the group is just spitting venom at the listener. Of course, this leads to plenty of headbang worthy moments similar to “Blood in the Throne Room,” and many other stand out tracks mentioned before.

Overall, Echoes of the Fallen shows Anterior both at their finest, and at their least creative. This album sounds phenomenal as far as the more melody driven aspects go, and the atmospheres found throughout are simply gorgeous. There’s plenty of energy to be found through the album, though some songs clearly have more to it then others. But one thing that hurts the group is the various moments and tracks that just seem to feed simple Metalcore compositions to the listener, and given what this group can bring to the table, that’s a huge let down and disservice to their own talents. Enough evidence is presented in Echoes of the Fallen to prove the band can shed themselves of the stereotypical concepts, and even create a very unique sound for themselves that any other groups trying to push such environment-rich music onto their listener’s have a very hard doing, especially for the style that Anterior tackles. If you haven’t heard this act yet, then you really do need to take the time to experience some of the outlined better tracks and see the potential that exists on this recording at the very least.

01. To Live Not Remain – 4:43
02. Blood in the Throne Room – 5:08
03. Tyranny – 5:02
04. By Horror Haunted – 4:37
05. Echoes of the Fallen – 1:28
06. The Evangelist – 3:58
07. Sleep Soundly No More – 5:11
08. Venomous – 4:13
09. Senora de las Sombras – 5:24
Overall Score: 7.5/10


Digital review copy of this release provided by Records.