Anachronism - Meanders review
|Release date:||January 2023|
Meanders is not the first Swiss tech-death album I’ve reviewed for Metal Storm; that honour, I believe, goes to Stortregn’s Impermanence back in 2021. It’s perhaps fitting that a fluke of nationality allows me to make a direct comparison of the two records, because it’s hard to think of two albums that so starkly represent the sheer range of music that can be placed under the tech-death umbrella. Impermanence was a hyper-energetic, strongly melodic record; Meanders very much is not.
Meanders is the third full-length album from Anachronism , coming five years after Oregony. Although Julien Waroux, who departed prior to the release of Oregony, has rejoined as bassist, this may not have been in time for the recording of Meanders, as producer Alex Sedin is also thanked in the liner notes for his contributions on bass. Otherwise, all things are the same as they were last time out, with guitarist Lisa Voisard continuing to also handle vocal duties, and Meanders does sound like the work of a group of musicians that have developed a mutual understanding over multiple projects; the dizzying complexity and chaos is quite something to try and grasp.
Dissonant death metal has been an ‘in’ trend for a few years now, particularly with the growing popularity of Ulcerate, but while there is considerable overlap between those exploring this same concept, there are divergences between groups, and Anachronism ’s oddities allow them to express some degree of individuality. On the one hand, there’s none of the atmospheric exploration that the likes of Ulcerate and Aeviterne have so successfully delivered; with all bar one song clocking in under 5 minutes, there’s only so much space to expand within tracks. At the same time, there is a persistent subtle levity heard within Meanders, even if the technicality and, frankly, foulness of a lot of this record very much follows the example of Gorguts. It also seems safe to imagine that the musicians involved in Anachronism have an appreciation for jazz, as the sheer cacophonic complexity of parts of this arguably extend beyond the usual bounds of such dissonance-dwelling extreme metal acts. The end result is maddening yet compelling.
Early on, Meanders arguably prioritizes disorienting extremity above anything else, with “Contrasts” and the title track punishing, whether on full blast or insanely meandering through discordant passages. At the same time, there are fallow passages within both, so Anachronism never barrage listeners ceaselessly into submission. Still, it’s during the guitar solo of “Prism” that some slight appreciation of melody can be heard within the framework of Meanders, and similar lead guitar work on “Source” sets the stage nicely for the more subdued, ominous passage that closes out this song, during which Anachronism step a bit away from Gorguts and more towards the atmospheric inclinations of a Nero Di Marte.
Meanders is just over 33 minutes in length, which is a healthy amount for this style; even though the proportion of this record that focuses on outright intensity in terms of fast tempos and aggressive percussion is relatively low, the unceasingly complex dissonance is quite exhausting to bear witness to. The relative dynamics of the album do help Anachronism avoid overdoing things, as the relatively muted nature of a lot of “Mirage” allows a shockingly slick groove midway through really make a memorable impact. Still, this is Dissonant Death metal with capital Ds; only attempt to take it on if you’re prepared to be aurally challenged.
||Written on 05.02.2023 by|
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