Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Anticosm - Alcoholic Darkness Demo

I can't help but feel that Anticosm are three, maybe four, different bands all battling for creative supremacy. Do Anticosm want to be a death metal band or a black metal band? Maybe a thrash band with some NWOBHM tendencies? The reality is this: they are metal band with the look and aesthetic of a Norwegian black metal band and have chosen this look before discovering whether this is the type of music they want to play. I can say this with having seen them live. They wear corpse paint, bellow to the audience in a scratchy, hoarse throated way between songs, and generally exude the stereotypical black metal qualifiers. Off stage though? I would wager that vocalist Graveless Carcass has a room full of his favorite Yankee Candles: Midsummer's Night, Sparkling Snow, and Root Beer Float all placed in the center of his plastic, Spencer's Ouija board. To be honest, Anticosm's stage show is decent, if I remember correctly. They certainly look like a veteran black metal band.

Musically speaking however, they come across as far from veteran. The general flow and musicianship on Alcoholic Darkness is proof of this and actually makes Alcoholic Darkness an appropriately titled demo for the band only because the music sounds like it was played after a few too many pints. The awkward transitions in opening track Skinless fit like a square block in a circular hole. The ability of Magnus and DemoGorgon is that of a stubborn elderly woman who thinks she still has the agility of her youth. In Magnus and DemoGorgon's case, they think they have the agility to pull off guitar acrobatics but they lose their balance sometimes and maybe fall over into their flower garden like the lady across the street. Magnus occasionally does rip into a worthy section but at other times I have to hang my head and wonder (You're Dead being a good example). Basically, they come across as the leaders of the high school garage band that everyone knows about. Bass and drums are generally in the same league as the guitars and plod along, flanking the main force but succumbing to light enemy fire.

The Demo does have moments of interesting ideas, presenting the ticking minds of creative individuals still learning their craft. The vocal duel at the end of Skinless is a great example of the band's general attempt to incorporate new ideas into what would otherwise be a stagnant formula. The band also excels at varying between riffs and simpler, melody driven sections. They fall short in the choice of melodies though, as the chord progressions occasionally veer away from the vibe of the song. The use of subtle symphonics in Sneg Sibirskiy is also done well. This is by far the best track on the demo with opener Skinless falling a few yards behind. The inclusion of acoustic guitars shows signs of compositional awareness however in the case of this demo, bad tone is their companion.

As a general rule, I simply don't find much about this demo that energizing, especially for the style these guys play. The songs aren't very memorable to my ears and I don't find myself becoming interested in the songs. I want nothing more for there to be one song which I would maybe play again but there just isn't. The best forty seconds of the demo is the first forty seconds of demo and then it seems to fall apart sloppily. The whole thing sounds amateur and unimportant. I like demos that really sound like they are more than mere demos; that sound like I am privy to some hidden ritual or obscure lost knowledge. This doesn't sound like that. It sounds like a few friends with cheap recording equipment who don't really know how to capture themselves properly. The production is also thin, especially in the lead guitar tone, and suffers from "demo plague" - a general feeling that the demo was recorded while the members were ill during recording. The sub-par musicianship doesn't help much either.

Sorry Anticosm, but you're going to have to do better than this.



Marcus said...

Haha, having actually hung out with the guys in Anticosm, I can assure you that they probably were fucking wasted when they wrote this material.
While it is pretty schizophrenic musically, I think they were actually striving to achieve that kind of effect. They are all fans of not only black metal, but power and traditional metal as well. While these influences may not have been demonstrated in the most graceful of ways, it is still pretty entertaining to see how they manage to blend it all together.

BTW, DemoGorgon is the BASSIST. Melkor is the guitarist. Edit that, foo.

Orion_metalhead said...

Well, I am reviewing the material and not the circumstances regarding it's creation. Plenty of albums were recorded while drunk and it didn't hamper the quality of the material. Fuck, Peace Sells was recorded almost completely on a heroine journey. I felt their execution in combining the elements was poor. Hopefully on their next release they are blended better.

According to Metal Archives, on this recording, DemoGorgon is the Guitar and Melkor played bass on the recording. They switched several weeks later.

All subjective though. It's still a good release for a young band and worth a listen.