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Anomalie – Tranceformation Award winner

by Andrew Graham at 09 February 2022, 4:18 PM

Lo and behold! We have another one-man (sort of) Post-black metal project! (With a smattering of Atmospheric and Folkish influences for good measure.) Marrok, a veteran of several different projects (not least of which, playing live guitar with HARAKIRI FOR THE SKY), has been round the block more than a few times and brings a great diversity of influences and sounds to ANOMALIE’S music. This deals in deeply tempestuous emotions, evident from the very first track.

“Trance I: The Tree” opens in droning tones, in the song’s dominant key. It has a vaguely menacing quality that continues as more layers are added. The pace remains slow, even through the blastbeats, but remains steady. A 1/3 beat thuds along like a deranged waltz. This really evokes dark forests, brooding menace and secret mystery. “Trance II: Relics” displays tremolo melodies all-too familiar to fans of HARAKIRI FOR THE SKY. Lying just under the surface of discordant chords lie distressed and tonally ill at ease. A quiet and broody mid-section reminds the listener of the more contemplative moments of OPETH as well as others. Even TOOL seems present in the proverbial background – their influence on anything with Prog or Post- in the genre apparently undeniable!

“Trance III: Alive” opens with gentle acoustic guitars before kicking the door in with thick and crunchy riffs which draw in the listener. Marrok manages to convey a vaguely Oriental sound with his vocals here too – one cannot help but think of wide, open deserts. (Just me perhaps?) Atmospheric seems inadequate as an epithet – perhaps meditative would be more appropriate? I can definitely see this music being utilised as a soundtrack for some kind of ritual! I suspect Marrok might take that as a compliment?

Hypnotic drums announce “Trance IV: Nemesis”, an apt introduction to a song that deals with remorse and the need to confess one's faults. This is something we all struggle with, and the sheer gravity of that theme is done justice in the emotional weight of the music. It feels heavy. I mean not just heavy, but heavy. Like a great weight. The idea of taking one's flaws, faults and grief and transforming it into something positive and creative is a struggle and that catharsis can truly be felt here. For those, like myself, who look to music for emotional profundity, look no further than this even if it is the only song on the album you hear!

“Trance V: Cerulean Sun” picks up the tempo, conveying a palpable sense of urgency. Very low background chants (guest vocals from Sakis Tolis) add weight to the main vocals to great effect. We also get a stirring violin section (solo?) courtesy of Sara Wolske. It's not such an unusual addition, given how popular groups like APOCALYPTICA have become! The violin fades out the track in a beautiful siren-song melody. Finally, we come to “Trance VI: Eternal Burden”. It opens in a more conventional Black metal style, as though to remind us where this really comes from. If anyone was in doubt, they are no longer! An absolutely delicious guitar solo leads into more glorious Black metal vintage continues again before a spoken outro section lamenting humanity’s mistreatment of the Earth. Heavy stuff indeed, and very much Black metal in my books!

The long and short of it is this is a real and genuine triumph. It's interesting and emotionally challenging – as all enriching music should be, as far as I am concerned (he says modestly!) Marrok’s unique style and approach to writing music is truly outstanding and deserves a listen from anyone who, like me, wants music that is emotionally charged, bypasses the rational/sensible part of our brains, and aims straight for the psyche. If you want to lose yourself in a music-induced trance (appropriately enough) this is your soundtrack.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 8
Production: 8


4 Star Rating

1. Trance I: The Tree
2. Trance II: Relics
3. Trance III: Alive
4. Trance IV: Nemesis
5. Trance V: Cerulean Sun
6. Trance VI: Eternal Burden 
Christian 'Marrok' Brauch – Vocals, all instruments
Lukas Schlintl – Drums 
Record Label: AOP Records


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