Survival Mode

No disrespect to Germany’s Anasarca, but I had never heard of them prior to this album and they’ve been slogging their brand of death metal since the 90’s, Survival Mode being their fourth album and first in 13 years.  Give it up for founding member, Michael Dormann-guitarist/vocalist keeping the band going, because Survival Mode is leaps and bounds above what I was expecting.

After an intro, “Drinking Blood” pounds you with the drums then a ferocious growl.  Coupled with some well placed blast beats a short while later.  Damn what a catchy part.  Tight rhythm section and this band is beginning to remind me of Hypocrisy, when they were good.  Think the first 2 Hypocrisy albums, which is some of the best death metal, still to this day.  Anasarca retaining a very early 90’s death metal style, rooted in part in Swede death and some American brutality, kind of like really early Deicide.  They could not have picked a better opening tune.  The title track is up next and the mid-paced opening with the double bass is sure to lop anyone’s head off from around the corner.  Excellent guitar riffing.  Really heavy shit.  Song eventually gets into a monstrous blast and then slows down with a nice doomy part with awesome pinch harmonics, thrown in just to whip your fat ass into shape.

“Pacific Dread” is another great song, opening with a super fast blasting section and than going right into a classic 90’s stylized death metal beat with some layered vocals and this section is terrific. The 1.28 part is awesomely heavy with some background spoken word vocals before the monstrous growl belts you upside the head.  “The Donner Party” is an awesome title with a great opening throaty scream and I love how the blast goes back and forth and then slows down with a section that had me thinking a bit of Bolt Thrower, for some reason.  Nice little melodic guitar soloish section before an off-kilter beat.  The 2.07 part has an extraordinary heavy moment with vicious vocals and the double bass is fast, but sounds excellent.  “Cannibal” is an unreal song with its stop/start riffing and blasting and catchy passages.  Phenomenal track.

This edition contains 4 bonus tracks from the Dying recording session.  They do a scorching cover of Obituary’s “Godly Beings”, on one of the tracks.  The production is quite vicious, and the mix is spot-on.   Everything else sounds great and the guitar tone is like a goddamned razor.  The booklet is well designed with a great album cover, pictures, lyrics and looks great.  Anasarca was sure a surprise hit for me and mega-thanks Barrett!!  Survival Mode is a monstrous death metal album that is:  Brutal, catchy, well-written and excellent from start to finish.  A highlight for 2017.  Buy or Die!!

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Frank Rini
August 3rd, 2017


  1. Commented by: Red

    Nice review man, I’m gonna have to check this out. I’ve only ever heard their Moribund album, and it was pretty decent. If I remember right, all the lyrics on that release were penned from inmates on death row..kind of a unique ploy..

  2. Commented by: Nick Taxidermy

    the intro to the song you linked is outrageous. thumbs up.

  3. Commented by: Ye Ol' Metal Curmudgeon

    Prior to this slab of sickness Anasarca always felt like they didn’t live up to their promise. This beast made me as hard as the northwoods!!! 4.5/5!!!

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