Anagnorisis
Beyond All Light

When it comes to Black Metal in Kentucky, I typically think of bands with the ‘atmospheric’ touch. Bands like Wheels Within Wheels, Panopticon, and Merkaba are the standard fare it seems. It just so happens that Austin Lunn from Panopticon started Anagnorisis in 2003. After the first release in 2007, Austin left the band to focus on Panopticon, a choice many to this day are thankful for. Admittedly, Panopticon are one of my favorite Black Metal projects currently active, and I cannot think of a single bad word to say about it. So when I came across a band Austin used to be in, I was intrigued.

This is certainly not the same band. It seems over the years Anagnorisis has felt the need to get away from the sound associated with their first full-length since the creative force behind that album departed 5 years ago. It was a good choice on their part as not many have the vision Austin Lunn has, and they probably would have just come off as copycats.

Beyond All Light is a completely different animal to the aforementioned bands. It is a whirlwind of melodic, technical, deathened (is that a word?) Black Metal that seems to conjure up a less aggressive and extreme Anaal Nathrakh in the grinding furor that is the majority of the first 3 songs, and a much more Black Metal focused Septic Flesh (without all the obvious over-composition and constant auxiliary instrumentation) for the last three. These are precipitous comparisons I know, as both bands are at the apex of their respective genres.

“Eulerian Path” begins Beyond All Light promisingly with a standard swelling ambient intro into some manic, grating Black Metal akin to Anaal Nathrakh in its approach. The song finds its way into a chugging riff that reminds me of metalcore days gone by, a poor transition into the ambient bridge, and a fade in back to the buzzing and blasting that carry it to its end.

“This Cursed Blood” is the second track and right off the bat its influences show. This is a great riff, memorable, shredding, angry, and the vocals over it all (and the entire album for that matter) are hostile and stand their ground well. This is the shortest and most bellicose number on the album. It really only slows down for an industrial-tinged vocal onslaught, and look for the completely off-the-wall horns and violins that squeal themselves to life about 4 minutes in. A short but imperative touch that elevates this song to best on the album.

As mentioned before, the third song “Death Mimics Life” is stylistically similar to the first two, albeit a bit more composed, while “Abyss” begins the band’s marked stylistic shift away from the relentless barrage into a more restrained and progressive feel. On “Bountiful Godless Life” there are more strings, and a long acoustic interlude that feels Opeth-ian in scope, and it is the only song on the album I genuinely dislike. “Forever Night” is the 9-minute closer and begins with more acoustics. Moving seamlessly into churning Black Metal again with a great transition, it stays here until the halfway point of the song where a regrettably bad sudden transition leads to a solid and suitably epic piano-based bridge and subsequent blasting through the end of the song and album.

Self-recorded, mixed, and released by the band on CD (Like Young Records is handling the CS version), this is a surprisingly well-produced and clear album. This is not lo-fi bedroom metal, and frankly that sort of thing wouldn’t fit this recording. Beyond All Light needs this production to stand up and shout. Even as I write this I am having difficulty forming a solid opinion on the album. It’s aggressive, and it is clear that time and talent went into making it, but there is just nothing here besides my obligation to review it that is going to keep me coming back to it. It isn’t bad, it might even be good. The unfortunate thing about the glut of music in general these days is that only that which stands out from the crowd for me gets much attention these days. This album just doesn’t give me anything to identify with. It’s all bluster, little charm. I’m trying not to come off overly critical here as it’s a successful and strong album that will probably generate quite a few fans for the band. It’s capable, it’s just not memorable.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Nick E
August 19th, 2013

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