Monday, 6 April 2015

Anthemon "Dystopia" (2004)


Today we write about a personal classic, an album thats been with me for many years and has also been a little bit of a mystery as to how I actually found my way to this one, but over the years it's served as a record I can revisit time and time again. Anthemon were a French band from Paris who fused Symphonic Doom Metal with a operatic vocals, with a distinct sensibility for tuneful, moving melodies and lush, glacial atmospherics that gave them an identity unique to anyone who has been lucky enough to stumble across this now defunct group. After recording three records in three short years the band split up during the writing process of a fourth for reasons never expressed.

"Dystopia" is a concept, sound, an identity created through an aesthetic the entire album sticks too. A niche touch in creating a record that feels like it can only be best enjoyed listening all the way through, more so than nit picking songs. Although a couple of tracks stand out, this is eight tracks of steadily paced, lush doom, playing out crafted melodies and theatric, moody operatics in absorbing strength. The sound oozes a sensuous wall of symphony as brooding, dense, low distortion guitars ring out against uprising, bold, audacious symphonic strings that create a warm, absorbing air of wonder for captivating melodies, and melodramatic performances as the operatic leads soar high and exchange with beastly growls and screams from the harsh vocals, as sturdy drums and solid baselines steady the ship.

The melodics are infectious, tuneful leads that burst out from both the guitars and symphony in between brooding moments that move with the anticipation of the next tune. The craft is astounding, each riff, lead and vocal progresses with ease to the next state with a true architecture that far exceeds the atypical Metal approach to song structure and writing. Anthemon forge their music like a matured wine thats been brewed to the fullest of flavor. Guitars play out giving rhythms that lend themselves to the structure and progression while breaking out into glorious leads with the strings and synth. The mood of the record is a strange one, overall bright and uplifting, with an undercurrent of sadness, mostly heard in the operatics, that flirts with darker feelings as the lyrics brood and ponder on pain and the psyche of the mind.

From a technical perspective this is a grand sound that may feel a touch clustered at times, but does a tremendous job allowing the bright, gleaming leads to play out in unison alongside moody guitar distortions as the symphonies shine through with a bright hazy wall of bliss. The drums play an important roll, sounding crisp, punchy and big, yet playing a moderated roll, providing these songs with a sturdy backbone thats theatric, without stealing the show. The chemistry in the mix may really be in the music, but the lush sensuous aesthetic of this record does nothing but reinforce magical compositions that master their own conception. Truly a work of art that could be easily overlooked, but years of listening has shown me the wonder never dies with this one.

Favorite Songs: Above Us, Tuned To Dead Channel, Sereve Eves
Rating: 9/10

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