Tuesday, 17 January 2017

ALBUM REVIEW: Black Anvil - "As Was"

By: Charlie Butler


Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 13/01/2017
Label: Relapse Records
 


“As Was” sees Black Anvil use black metal as a foundation for a grand opus that takes in influences from across the heavy spectrum. In a genre that is often content to recycle the past, this is a record that drives forward into bold new realms.


 
“As Was” CD//DD//LP track listing:


1. On Forgotten Ways
2. May Her Wrath Be Just
3. As Was
4. Nothing
5. As An Elder Learned Anew
6. Two Keys: Here's The Lock
7. The Way Of All Flesh
8. Ultra



The Review:


Black Anvil eschew the low fidelity approach of some black metal artists and opt for a huge production on new LP “As Was”. This captures the full breadth of the New York bands sonic ambition at no detriment to heaviness.

On Forgotten Ways” begins the album with an epic fusion of traditional tremolo-picked riffs and more atmospheric modern black metal sounds. Each subsequent track sees Black Anvil maintain a core of black metal while introducing intriguing new elements. “Nothing” begins with the gnarliest riffage on the record but mid-way takes an unexpected left-turn into lush prog territory complete with 70’s sci-fi synths which erupts into a headbanging outro complete with a monstrous guitar solo. The title track sees Black Anvil embrace a more classic heavy metal feel. Slower riffs like Mastodon wading through quicksand make their presence felt alongside clean melodic passages with an almost folky feel on the vocal front.

The second half of “As Was” sees the band take a more progressive route bringing to mind kindred spirits Enslaved, particularly on “As An Elder Learned Anew”. The lengthy “Two Keys: Here’s The Lock” provides the albums highlight. Sections of blissed-out reverb-heavy guitar in the vein of Pink Floyd lull you into a trance-like state which is soon shattered by pummelling mid-tempo black metal.


The closing double duo of “The Way Of All Flesh” and “Ultra” provide more surprises. The former is a short acoustic-based instrumental that ushers in the yearning heavy rock of the latter. Choruses reminiscent of Baroness’Yellow and Green” sit within the heavy riffage to provide a close to the album that is a great contrast to opener “On Forgotten Ways” but remains true to its spirit. 

As Was” sees Black Anvil use black metal as a foundation for a grand opus that takes in influences from across the heavy spectrum. In a genre that is often content to recycle the past, this is a record that drives forward into bold new realms.


As Was” is available here





Band info: bandcamp || facebook


RIYL: Goatwhore, Aura Noir, Beyond De-th, Enslaved

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