Monday, November 17, 2008

Black Anvil - Time Insults The Mind

Black Anvil are a black metal band comprised of the members of New York Hardcore outfit Kill Your Idols who are also involved in several other hardcore bands. Black Anvil's take on black metal falls somewhere between competent and average, though I find the whole idea of three hardcore guys playing black metal insincere at the best and provoked by ulterior motives at the worst. The musicianship is definitely there and the tone pounds sufficiently but the riffs sound less like black metal and more akin to groovy thrash with black metal vocals plastered on a hardcore template with copious amounts of tape and glue desperately trying to hold the whole thing in place. "Time Insults The Mind" is a prime example that talented musicians can accomplish playing a particular style and make it sound good but still fall short in regards to accountability.

The album opens with "Margin for Terror" which, reasonably demonstrates what the album has to offer. It trudges on through some typical riffs similar to what the next Primordial album will sound like if Alan and the boys have lost their will to be creative and run out of ideas. Paul Delany's vocals sound exactly like Jeff Walker's vocals on Heartwork. I wouldn't be driving all over the road to say that there is potent Heartwork / Swansong influence at times, notable the second half of disjointed third track "Deathsomnia." The long pause mid track before the second half of the track could be occupied with something to blend the two segments together. "Ten Talons Deep" begins with some excellent usage of subtle melody and dynamics though falls into a post-black styled verse and chorus with a somewhat upbeat and enticing melody.

Gary Bennet's guitar is right up front and crisp with some fuzz and grit. Paul's bass throughout the album is, thankfully, prevalent however it sounds a bit too clean, like a bum after a shower. It has weight but only enough to balance the see-saw in the park with the neighborhood fat girl on the other end. The bass is used to great effect though and complements the guitars without doing any drastic progressive wanderings or spacey shit. Good for Paul. Trudging along with a disregard for those looking for the next technical masterpiece. He does his thing and does it well.

The second half of the rhythm section is where I find the album lacking. Raeph Glicken is tight and varied even though he sounds like the guy who was dragged into the project and got bored halfway. "On This Day Death" is a prime example of his lackluster emotion. He does little interesting except the toy monkey-like cymbal play a quarter through the song before the slower, droning section with screams in the background that sound like a school bus of children frightened by the spiders in the arachnid exhibit at the city zoo. The screams sound like they are behind glass or deep down in a dank well. Nice touch.

The second half of the album is where the interesting songs are. "And You Thought You Knew Pain" contains the quality riffs on the album. 777 contains the weird lead section of the album though the lack of balls in the bass is most noticeable during this section. Still, the arpeggiated lead is interesting and unique enough to support the fragment. The albums shortest song, "L.T.H.L.T.K" has the most irritable opening riff, sounding downright silly. Dethroned Emperor sounds like mediocre doom.

Overall, the album is consistently mediocre, providing little if any remarkable content. Though the ideas do present themselves and the riffs are at times noddable, not once is the music engaging enough to warrant multiple listens or to necessitate added listening in the car.

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