BARGAIN BIN REVIEWS – ANAGNORISIS’S “OVERTON TREES”


Yeah, I know, I have not done one of these in a few months. But I’m trying to be particular about what I review here, and my bargain bin hauls tend to come in bunches. I just don’t want to review every 99 cents early 90s Metal Blade or Pulkas CD I find in the used bin.

And this episode of bargain bin reviews is slightly relevant as you will read shortly. I found this CD for 99 cents in the clearance bin at Hastings. The unreadable logo and esoteric title immediately drew me in to a blind purchase, thinking it had to be metal of some sort….and I was right.

by E. Thomas

So, how is this strangely named band (By the way Anagnorisis is the moment in a tragic play where the main character realizes the and their true identity or situation) and CD released on a label you’ve never heard of be relevant and why should you care? Well, unless you have been living under a rock or simply don’t care for black metal, you’ve more than likely heard of the USBM project Panopticon and their recent, excellent (if unfortunately vinyl only) release, Kentucky. That band is the brain child of one Austin Lunn ( though he goes via the more black metal sounding pseudonym A Lundr). And guess who the founding  guitarist and vocalist of Anagnorisis was?

Although Anagnorisis is apparently still active, Lunn is no longer in the band and  this was the bands only full length release (though an EP was released in 2009) and was released way back in 2007 on Shiven Records. What we have here, while still falling under the vast black metal umbrella, is a far different project that Panopticon’s, introspective blue grass meets black metal. Anagnorisis, while still an deeper than average intellectual black metal band is more of a progressive,experimental  symphonic black metal band with shades of death metal. It’s something that gives off an early 90s The End Records meets Anorexia Nervosa/Emperor vibe, and is much more honest and regal than much of the US symphonic black metal that was dropping around the same time (Sothis, Abigail Williams etc) and certainly much more than a simple Dimmu Borgir knockoff ( though symphonic intro “Prelude” might make people think otherwise).

The songs range from around 4 to 8 minutes and cover a vast scope of black and death metal. The production is clean and polished ( it was recorded an Mana Studio  by Brian Elliot, who was responsible for the recent Chaos Inception record and mastered by Alan Douches, so it’s not a no name production effort) and the synths are understated yet regal, not overbearing and theatrical. Lunn utilizes a typical black metal rasp, but also used a deep death metal growl about half the time too, giving the album some earthy menace amid the winding, tremolo pick riffs and progressive textures. There’s even an Opeth-ian clean section (which also surface on the title track) and Novembers Doom -ish (Lunn does a spot on Paul Kuhr impersonation with hsi death metal vocals0 vibe to start the albums longest and most progressive standout track “The Weakness”, and superb all out doom closer “To Sleep” was worth the price of the CD alone. In fact the albums last  half is (with the exception of “The Great Divorce”) almost an altogether different sounding act with the aforementioned bands being by far the bigger influence than the the albums early deathlier and blacker hues of ‘Birth of the Pariah”, “Corpse in the Silo” and “Virulence”.

I’m truly surprised that back in 2007 I didn’t hear or read a single whisper about this band or release at any of my usual metal haunts and outlets, not a peep. Even more so when you consider the people involved in recording/producing and mixing the release, let alone the actual quality of the album. And even if you Google this release today, there is very little written about it, making a true unearthed gem of a record that any fans of A Lunn’s work should try to dig up, even if it is a different beast from his current project.

By far my most pleasing and surprising Bargain Bin find so far, even more so considering it was a completely blind purchase at the time.

 

Comments

  1. Commented by: Sam

    Thank you so much for the great review! It was an interesting time recording this record, and Shiven has since collapsed, so it never had a good distribution. It’s online for free now and we’re so glad you found it in a bargain bin!


  2. Commented by: E. Thomas

    Was just in a random metal, turntable.fm room, and the keyboard player from these guys was in the room. he was excited to see a review of this release- small world isnt it?


  3. Commented by: Chris Smith

    damn man, what an amazing and thorough review! i wasn’t with the band for this recording but was on the newest release, Ghost Of Our Fathers, which was just released this week, can’t wait to see what you think of the new material! thanks for the kind words, and stay metal!

    http://anagnorisis.bandcamp.com/


  4. Commented by: E. Thomas

    You can grab this excellent album as a free download here http://anagnorisis.bandcamp.com/album/overton-trees

    2 new tunes sounds great


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