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Best place to find cold black metal? Chile, anyone? Excuse the inane jokes. Chile and black metal don’t go hand-in-hand. Rarely have I come across a Chilean black metal band of any substance that managed to attract my attention for the full length of the record I’m listening to, but Animus Mortis have changed that perception I had on this particular South American country. I’ve come across bands in this region of the world a handful of times, but have only rarely found anything worthwhile. Bands like Aurahiemis and Uaral spring to mind immediately. Whilst either band isn’t strictly considered black metal, my knowledge of the entire region is poor and those are the only two examples I can think of, off the top of my head, for the time being. South America has rarely appealed to me. It’s a region of the world that intimidates me, in some aspects. Black metal, in my experience, from this region is often too derivative for my liking. That’s where Animus Mortis step in.
With the release of the bands debut, ‘Atrabilis (Residues From Verb & Flesh)’ my perception of Chilean, and South American metal on the whole, is altering slightly. Interest in one band from a particular region, for me, usually sparks an interest in all forms of metal from this part of the world. My desire to hear bands from South American has been heightened, partially, by bands like Animus Mortis. Therefore, considering this fact, my respect for this black metal opus is high and I believe it’s deserving of such high esteem on a global basis. Black metal, traditionally speaking, works in stages and forms patterns within itself. Animus Mortis do not escape this formulated sounds, or traditional elements as easily as the avant-gardé black metal bands do. For example, the drums are a prime example of how Animus Mortis take the European influence to great lengths. The drums are typical of old school black metal. Whilst the vocals rasp, in a typical fashion, the drums blast, also in a traditional fashion. Double bass is very important to this outfit and is used almost constantly and consistently throughout. Whilst a lot of old school inspired bands, with their overly aggressive and hatred filled sound, overuse the double bass, as well as the crash and ride cymbals, Animus Mortis don’t. Their drummer, Kæffel, is competent and holds his ground well. His skills are excellent, particularly on double bass, so this allows the rising tension in the atmosphere, to sound in tune with the rest of the music.
Vocally speaking, which I touched upon, Animus Mortis’ vocalist, Sidragath, portrays the misanthropic lyrics, whatever they might be, in a apt way using destitute screams which have a tendency to echo across the soundscapes and filter through the eerily entrancing production used on this particular record. It’s hard to pick examples because all the songs aptly portray what I’m speaking of. Songs like, ‘Among The Phlegm Of God’, with it’s seemingly anti-religious concepts, is one of these prime examples. The drumming is astute and allows the guitarists, of which there are two, to build the melodies which wash through the music superbly. Animus Mortis are a classic case of aggressive black metal in areas, with touches of mellifluous melodies which sweep the audience off their feet. The most important aspect is, of course, the guitars. Thankfully Animus Mortis have decided to use two. One creating one quintessential riff, and the other creating their own quintessential riff, which is usually highly melodic, unlike other aspects of the music like the drums. Tracks like ‘Splendour Ruins’ portray the intertwining nature of the guitars well. The bass, which carries undertows of sadness and sorrow, lay hidden beneath the decaying and destructive sounds of the drums and vocals. Whilst the bass isn’t considered as important, it is always there, laying foundations for the guitars to build upon. The bass is the cement and the guitars are the bricks. There doesn’t seem, to me, to be many overwhelming negative aspects of this record, it’s just very good without ever excelling on to true brilliance.
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