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Annisokay – Aurora

by Matt Bozenda at 24 March 2021, 9:44 PM

Some bands can have a rough go of it. When one member dies or otherwise leaves, the band can come to a complete halt. Other times they get replaced, or even not replaced, and the band continues on. The list of Metal bands which have more former members than current members is sure a long one, and the ones worth a spit either cycle them out to keep ideas fresh or carefully select a substitute to keep their sound consistent. Either way, it remains a tight-rope act of varying efficiency.

When it comes to efficiency, of course, you can’t do much better than going German, and if you want consistency you can find it aplenty in Metalcore. From Saxony-Anhalt comes just such a band in the form of ANNISOKAY with their fifth album (in six lineups), "Aurora". Despite a history of personnel changes including a new unclean vocalist, the new album does not change how the band does business. That may seem great at first, but being five albums deep and still howlingly average will weigh things down.

Track one, "Like A Parasite", sets a vaguely FEAR FACTORY-like tone that stays along for the remainder of the album. "STFU", which was the album’s first single, starts out very strong but softens up and doesn’t quite recover its edge, really only trudging along on gimmick alone. Following that is the album’s longest track, "The Tragedy", features the best vocal effort yet, trading places and duetting with ease; a film director the likes of Zach Snyder might find this track suited for one of his films.

"Face The Facts" is another track with a fast start, the closest yet to a real headbanger, but that pace and intensity just don’t hold up for the entire song. "Overload" adds a light touch of Goth, not enough to overwhelm the track, and whoever took JACK BLACK’s advice to ‘do the bendy every once in a while’ really lets it pay off here.

After that, some of the shots fired go way off the mark. "Bonfire Of The Millenials" is the first of the truly boilerplate Metalcore songs which simply do nothing to wow the listener. The same can be said for "The Cocaine’s Got Your Tongue", as well as the last three tracks, which create an unfortunately underwhelming ending, with "Friend Or Enemy" being the better of the trio.

Alas, not all is lost. For one, "The Blame Game" does reach slightly above average. "Under Your Tattoo" definitely has hit potential, good enough for a slot in the all-2021 playlist, at least. The album’s shortest track, "I Saw What You Did" gets into the Metal core of, well, Metalcore.

It’s all too little too late, however. Despite the moments when it shines, "Aurora" gives the listener little reason to keep looking skyward. Every song gets a quick jump out of the starting gate, but barely half of them make it to a podium finish. Innovation tends to elude the genre and ANNISOKAY doesn’t break the mold.

"Aurora" has the accessibility for anyone new to the scene, but entry-level workers don’t get CEO pay for a reason. And the tale of the tape is a bit bloated, too; thirteen tracks at forty-eight minutes is too much by six and fifteen, respectively. For anyone who already has their expectations together, this album at best can feel like it overstays the welcome, and at its worst it writes a rubber check. Fans will love it, but everyone else is on their own.

Musicianship: 7
Songwriting: 6
Memorability: 5
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

1. Like A Parasite
3. The Tragedy
4. Face The Facts
5. Overload
6. Bonfire Of The Millenials
7. The Cocaine’s Got Your Tongue
8. Under Your Tattoo
9. The Blame Game
10. I Saw What You Did
11. Standing Still
12. Friend Or Enemy
13. Terminal Velocity
Rudi Schwarzer – Vocals
Christoph Wieczorek – Vocals, Guitar
Norbert Kayo – Bass
Nico Vaeen – Drums
Record Label: Arising Empire Records


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