MetalBite Review by Chris Pratl on 3/21/2019 9:49:45 PM
After getting this band’s Dawn of Doom demo in the mail this week and listening to it at least once every day since then I’ve become enthralled with Sweden’s Anguish, a doomy outfit that issues sounds that even the most arduous fan might find eerie. This is simply a band that is going to mark indelible scars throughout the industry.
Right off the bat Through the Archdemon’s Head reads like a Poe or Lovecraft piece come to musical fruition. While I loved the demo and thought it was sincerely terrific, this debut album is one of the more deliberate efforts to redefine doom that I’ve heard. After getting past the fine intro, “Book of Fox” muscles into the headphones and just surrounds my aching head with wonderfully written tales of woe and deviated resignation. I went into the record thinking it would sound one particular way and to my surprise it’s nothing I envisioned. What we have here is tremendously diabolical in design amidst a flurry of wringing chords and vocals straight from the book of a more ‘throaty’ Cronos or even Blood Fire Death-era Quorthon, all the while finding that dark sadism in all of us that genuinely gets off on this dark, corruptive music.
The doom here is not another weak homage to Black Sabbath or even Warning; it bears no real resemblance to St. Vitus or Solitude Aeturnus, and Candlemass is a distant cousin. This sinister foray into the cellar of evil has brief moments of musical comparison to Candlemass, as is evident in some of the passages in “When the Ancients Dare to Walk”, but this overall sound is all their own. Between the sorrowed, even pained vocals that border on a longing bellowing and the drowning-light guitar tone that almost resembles scaled weeping Anguish certainly manages to live up to its fitting moniker. Through the Archdemon’s Head disseminates a certain ‘evil’ that rises above the accepted and patterned din and infects your very nature to a degree that is both welcomed and frightening. The taunting bass line in “Dawn of Doom” is a fairly discernible chill in your neck as the voice from Hell wraps itself around your body and literally shrouds you in this dark and lingering unease that is one of the greatest feelings any metal record can give you. Each and every track on this record is an absolute tutorial in Horror Metal 101, rife with elevated and sadistic fluidity throughout. J. Dee is fast becoming one of my favorite recent vocalists, and I’m thinking once the masses hear this mournful delivery and brilliant mastery of the causal effect doom metal is purported to have on certain individuals he’ll become of the more revered and talked about singers of the modern era. I think Dark Descent hit a proverbial home-run with this band.
This band will definitely be one to watch and I can almost guarantee this will end up on my year end list…not bad for a late January offering, huh?
Rating: 8.5 out of 10
(Originally written for www.metalpsalter.com)