Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Animus - Poems for the Aching, Swords for the Infuriated (V)

Animus is one of those rare black metal projects that makes effective artistic use of the genre's overused raw, low fidelity production. The project appears to be one of the ubiquitous "black metal solo projects" featuring a lone black metal fan recreating, or occasionally actually adding to, the self-focused works of forebears through black metal's couple-decade history. Animus here has a distinctive sound, at least in my experience, putting compositions that sometimes might otherwise fit into a bright, cheery song ("Three" in particular sounds almost like a soft ballad recreated as raw and black expression) into a sound that creates a sort of harsh self-criticism in raw tone and clacking, frequently absent programmed drums. The harsh vocal performance is produced in a way that almost blends into the wash of guitars in the overall sound while remaining distinct and hateful.

Animus is definitely an experience that makes time seem to slide past while the music stands still. I don't recommend this release for driving unless you WANT to miss important turnoffs in a distracted haze. Though the numbered tracks never seem to reach deep inside the listener or even bathe the listener in a surrounding atmosphere, despite the ambient tone and approach, the experience of listening is akin to staring halfway into your own soul and seeing an expanse of nothingness and alienation. The gently developed one-riff pieces never seem to end or begin as much as they seem to be glimpses into something that exists statically somewhere far off.

There is certainly something unsatisfying and unsettling in Poems for the Aching, Swords for the Infuriated. Not necessarily recommended as an introduction to black metal. Also not recommended for regular listening - the alienated, distant feel is distracting and almost paralysing at times. I suggest this album more as a demonstration of a completely different and strangely original approach to raw black metal than as a constant friend or an epic example of artistry.

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