|Review: Anti - The Insignificance of Life|
|The Insignificance of Life|
Label: Obscure Abhorrence Productions
Year released: 2006
Genre: Black Metal
Review online: March 11, 2009
Reviewed by: Brett Buckle
for:The Insignificance of Life
Depressive Black Metal is a style of music that is very easy to fuck up with its repetitive riffs and song structures. Keeping a minimalist song interesting for 10 or more minutes is quite difficult and is a straightforward mechanism for sorting the wheat from the chaff. Unless of course you don't play by the established rules. Germany's Anti eschew the long songs of their genre mates, keeping their repetitive, soul rending tunes fairly short, and in the process create something that is just a tiny bit different to what everyone else is doing. With the longest track here running just over six minutes, and a total running time under half an hour, The Insignificance of Life does not fuck around. This is a pity as fans of this music are used to, perhaps even expect, lengthy tracks full of repetitive riffs and bleak atmosphere, and on this album the songs are over just as you are settling in to let yourself be drowned in the despair they evoke.
An ambient roll that sounds like blustering winds or crashing waves briefly introduces the album before it kicks into the albums sole blast under a simplistic but quite effective riff that carries the rest of the track. Almost immediately you're struck by the vocals of A. Krieg; they are incredibly distorted and swathed in reverb, consisting of a kind of deep growl/screech combination that very nicely suits the lyrical themes of self loathing and misanthropy. "Invocation" is the melodic highlight of the album, and while the structure is more or less the same as the previous track, it just takes the theme to the next level with its Veil cross Nyktalgia sensibilities and rumbling wall of sound that carries the sweet but anxious melodies creating a masterpiece of DSBM. The closing track "Mourning Soul" is a cover of an Absurd song and while the track has been given the Anti treatment, the riffs are not of the same high quality as the rest of the album (apart from an inspired melody line in the middle), and it does kind of stand out as a cover, so maybe not the best way to close the album.
Enveloping, smothering, suffocating; each of these describes the production perfectly as the wall-of-sound guitars close around you. They are massively distorted while retaining that Black Metal rawness, smudged at the edge of their tone with radio silence white noise. The near constant rumble of double bass adds to this feeling of claustrophobia confronting you with some nameless dread at your door rather than the slow encroachment so common in this style. The bass is audible but lacks the bottom end it really needs which is a shame because the right bass sound could really have pushed this production over the edge into eargasm territory. As it is, the album relies on the multi-layered guitars to provide its awesome depth.
The Insignificance of Life is a fantastic album of crushing depressive Black Metal. You know that when the only real criticism you have of an album is that it's too short then you're on a winner. Perhaps this is for the best though as Anti's sound is much more oppressive than that of, say, ColdWorld or Nyktalgia, so maybe a more traditional 60+ minute album may have been too much. Either way, this is an album that all fans of DSBM must experience and that fans of the old school of Burzum should also be looking into. One word review: Engrossing.
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