Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Anagnorisis – Beyond All Light

According to Wikipedia, anagnorisis is “a moment in a play or other work when a character makes a critical discovery. Anagnorisis originally meant recognition in its Greek context, not only of a person but also of what that person stood for. It was the hero's sudden awareness of a real situation, the realization of things as they stood, and finally, the hero's insight into a relationship with an often antagonistic character in an Aristotelian tragedy.”  Kind of a cool concept to use as a band name.

After listening to this album repeatedly, I am aware that this one kicks major ass.  I really dig what black metal bands are doing with the genre, and these guys are leading the way.  There are classical and symphonic elements going on throughout these 6 songs, and there is one track in particular that makes me think we need to coin the “melodic black metal” phrase.  And by classical and symphonic elements, I don't mean that they just used keyboards to make it sound like an orchestra was playing with them.  I mean it more in the sense that some of this music is very much kinfolk with actual classical music.  There is some very cool instrumentation throughout the album, some very interesting musical concepts going on when you listen carefully.  Of course, if you just want to listen to this on the “rage the fuck out” level, it'll work for that too.

This is a very well crafted album.  The songs flow very organically from one to the next, there is great use of atmospherics and tempos to create a mood.  Again, it feels like it was written in movements.  My favorite track is probably “Death Mimics Life”, 9 and a half solid minutes of what is great about black metal.  This is also the song that prompts me to think of melodic black metal.  I'm not sure I've ever heard a track in this genre that has such a deft melodic touch to it.  There is not a lot of melody in black metal.  We get a lot of droning, a lot of tremolo picking, hammering double bass drums, and that's all great, but to hear some actual melody winding its way through all of that is pretty sweet.

As is often the case, this is a band with which I was not familiar prior to this release, but I will be checking out the back catalog.  Apparently there has been a lot of personnel turnover in this band, but hopefully this particular lineup will manage to stick together and build upon what they have accomplished with “Beyond All Light”.  This album is a major accomplishment and a must listen for any fan of black metal.  There is always a lot of talk about where metal is going, and these guys have shown us a pretty good blueprint for what metal can be, how it can grow and expand into a very serious and worthwhile form of music.  So recognize this band and what they stand for.  You'll be glad you did.


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