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Black Anima - Hammer of the North (CD)

Black Anima
Hammer of the North
by Mike Novak at 21 March 2009, 9:57 AM

BLACK ANIMA was formed in Sweden in 2007 and has since released a number of demos and EPs. All of the instruments are played and programmed by Savopipo, with additional lead and backing vocals given by a man who calls himself Astaroth (how original).

I'm sure that at least one Metal Temple editor got a laugh when sending me the release. He was kind enough to print out the lyrics, which are unintentionally funny and at times try to be blasphemous with little success. If you're going to be blasphemous, try writing about something other than bad things happening to Christians and priests; it's getting old. Write about Hindus for a change, that would be entertaining, or how about Muslims? For such a large group with such a large influence in world politics, they seem to be relatively ignored in the realms of oh-so-evil Black Metal, with a few notable exceptions (look it up).

However, even if the members of BLACK ANIMA tried to make so bold a statement with their lyrics, I doubt anyone would notice. Even if you ignore the band name (is that one of those caps with a propeller on top sitting over the a in black in their logo?) the vocals would probably turn the majority of listeners away from the band. They're laughably bad. They sound like a mix between an emo singer and a garbage disposal. This is not coming from one of those I hate cookie-monster vocals people, I usually don't mind harsh singing or growls, but the vocals on here are something else, to say the least. As mentioned before, the lyrics aren't too great either.

Don't think I just wrote this review to trash this band, though. Beneath the exterior lies some surprisingly good music. Instrumentally, this album has some great moments, one just needs to overlook the vocals. Even though having a low-budget release with a good sound is less of a feat than it was ten years ago, I do appreciate how all of the instruments can be heard clearly. Musically, I'm not sure if this would qualify as Black Metal. To me, it sounds very similar to what MANILLA ROAD was putting out in the mid-to-late 80s, except not as good, of course.

There is some solid riff writing sprinkled throughout, culminating on the track Hammer Of The North. The bridge in the middle of the song is killer and took me by surprise. Not every section, riff or idea is a winner, but overall, aside from the vocals, these songs are worth listening to. The epic The Christian Cross would have been better broken up into three smaller tracks and definitely should not have had that spoken part, it just kills the momentum of the song. However, the beginning and end of the song show some definite potential. There are some well-written solos on here, as well.

I think I am going to leave this release unrated. The grade that you would give it depends on your ability to stomach the vocals. I would encourage anyone reading this to at least give it a shot; just head over to their MySpace page, although I wouldn't be surprised if at least 80% would not even be able to get through the first song. Hey, maybe if they get a halfway decent singer and ditch the Im so evil charade, these guys could put out a very good album.

0 Star Rating

Gebed Door De Macht Van Een Oscillator
Serpent Of The Sea
Kvick I Jord (Buried Alive)
Hammer Of The North
The Christian Cross
Savopipo - Lead & Rhythm Guitars, Programming, Lead & Backing Vocals
Astaroth - Lead & Backing Vocals
Record Label: Private Release


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