Anguish

Through the Archdemon's Head

Written by: EW on 01/09/2012 17:37:23

A reviewer’s life is never easy, forced as he is to critique bands for being too prosaic and unwilling to bend often-restrictive genre conventions while bringing nothing of interest to the world. Yet then a band comes along who by sticking so rigidly to those same scene rules actually makes me wish to hail them to the sky. Three years ago Tribulation did this with death metal, now fellow Swedes Anguish have done the same to doom. Let me try and explain how.

One factor is production. What Tribulation and Anguish both have in abundance is a gritty, dirty sound that does not leave me cold thinking how they sound like every other pro-Tools polished band. A band can have great songs but with a sterile and identikit production will eventually render theirs efforts futile; however a band who experiment with and aim for a different sound can make good songs great. A quick listen to "Through the Archdemon's Head" will reveal this, as the crunchy guitars and cavernous bass, decipherable growled vocals of J. Dee and real sounding drumkit all have room to breathe yet are undeniably and proudly heavy.

Secondly, passion. Anguish's promo photo of 5 leather-clad long-hairs gives something away but it is really songs like "The Veil", "Lair of the Gods" and "Dawn on Doom" which unarguably highlight this band as worshippers at the temple of doom. Their songs are slow, ponderous, epic, heartfelt; all traits laid down by the likes of Candlemass, Solitude Aeturnus, Bathory and Black Sabbath years before them. Solos gently flow in and out of songs while the rhythm ceaselessly marches along, for rarely even in doom is the procession of riffs so steadfast as here.

Across the album the pace does not vary greatly - aside from a momentary blast in "Lair of the Gods" and a more decisive crawl in "Morbid Castle's" early stages the tempo ranges from slow, to slow. But that's ok, for Reverend Bizarre and Procession among others have shown faithful subservience to this powerful genre to be a blessing and never a curse. For all that "Through the Archdemon's Head" can be overtly single-minded and simplistic in it's approach or that Anguish may write a better album in the future, it will be difficult for them to write a better doom album than this.

Download: Lair of the Gods, Dawn of Doom, The Veil
For The Fans Of: Candlemass, Bathory, Solitude Aeturnus
Listen: Myspace

Release date: 08.02.2012
Dark Descent Records

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