|Review: Black Anvil - As Was|
Label: Relapse Records
Year released: 2017
Genre: Black Metal
Review online: February 5, 2017
Reviewed by: Bruno Medeiros
Rated 2.17/5 (43.33%) (6 Votes)
Black Anvil is a weird band. It's a Black/Thrash metal band created by Paul Delaney (vocals, bass), Gary Bennett (guitars, vocals) and Raeph Glicken (drums, vocals), who play/played in several New York-based hardcore bands – Kill Your Idols being their main act – and decided one day to take the leap and test the turbulent waters of the extreme metal ocean, which is actually pretty brave, given that the extreme Metal community tends to heavily dislike Hardcore (and all cores, for that matter) or even hate it, period.
I'm going to go ahead and say that As Was has only three good songs: opener "On Forgotten Ways", follow-up "May Her Wrath Be Just" and the actually awesome "Nothing". These are definitely worthy of being noticed and have great elements and atmosphere. But the thing is, it kind of stops there. The other five songs are a mix of Black-ish Heavy Metal with harsh vocals, dragged-on parts with little feeling and purpose and even some random Gothic-like bits. The title track, "As Was" is the perfect example of this, as it is everywhere and anywhere at the same time, with leads and riffs mixed together, simplistic and mechanical drumming, poor songwriting and even a ballad section in the middle of it, just because. In fact, there are a few times over the course of the album that the vocals turn from harsh to clean and mournful, forging a doomy or gothic atmosphere, but unfortunately this doesn't run as smoothly as the band thought it would.
"Two Keys: Here's the Lock" and "Ultra" further consolidate the absence of a clear objective by these guys, each sounding flat and disconnected. Of course, the instrumental part of the album is good, as these dudes know how to rock, the production has a decent dynamic range and the mixing is top-notch, making every instrument shine when needed. "As an Elder Learned Anew" and the instrumental "The Way of All Flesh" are passable and provide a small amount of fun, but like almost every other song, feel somewhat detached and chaotic.
Fans of pure forms of Black Metal, I warn you: stay away from this. Occasional listeners of the genre and curious people in general, however, may as well give this as spin as your mileage may vary and you might find good things in here after all.
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