For anyone whose hobbies include scouring Bandcamp for quality albums, the “Name Your Price” tag is always accompanied by an air of caution. In all fairness, such a tool – and Bandcamp in general – is a phenomenal platform and tactic for undiscovered bands to connect with audiences that may never have heard a minute of their music otherwise. Yet, each worthwhile find can be easily matched with another handful of free releases that epitomize the concept of receiving the equivalent of what one “pays” for. In no way does this describe Anopheli, a Californian/British septet whose sophomore effort The Ache of Want would be worth downloading even if it did not bear the NYP designation.

Aided by gorgeously performed and produced cello, Anopheli’s brand of self-described “melancholic doom laden emo crust” feels simultaneously lush and earnest; exquisite yet accessible. The beauty of the band’s cellist Nicole intertwines seamlessly within her bandmates’ compositions and feels like a necessary cog rather than a charming accent. Perhaps the greatest example of this is “Ruminations,” an excellent example of ensuring that an interlude provides a greater service than being a mere album device. Over four minutes that could have justifiably lasted much longer, Nicole and her six-stringed bandmates Brian and Peter weave cello and acoustic guitars together to create a statement of stark and moving beauty, highly comparable to Musk Ox. Elsewhere on The Ache of Want, much of the strings – and overall demeanor of the album – resemble elements of Saor and (particularly) Panopticon, albeit with a stripping away of black metal in favor of raw melodic emotion.

In many ways, The Ache of Want corrects the issues that plague Envy‘s latest offering Atheist’s Cornea. Vocally, the delivery of vocalist Alex’s screams resemble those of Envy’s Tetsuya Fukagawa, differing in Alex’s much more forceful and full tone and use of a proper degree of variance in pacing. Additionally, the band’s gritty take on emo remains emotional but in a manner that causes Alex’s barks to seem genuine rather than mere melodramatic whines. Similarly, Anopheli’s consistent, mid-paced assaults of melodic emo topped with a poignant layer of crust are carefully cushioned with a number of powerful builds, beginning with the the string introduction of “Awoken” and permeating the remainder of the album, such as on highlight track “Somnambulant.” It is an effortless task to find oneself lost in this album’s compositions due to its sound; every instrument on The Ache of Want is produced impeccably and enhances the offered performances.

At a mere six tracks, the obvious critique of The Ache of Want is its brevity, something that is easily overlooked due to the music that composes the track listing. Anopheli have crafted something remarkable with The Ache of Want; an album that fuses together a plethora of individual elements that all dazzle on their own. It is tempting to highlight Nicole’s string work above all else, as it clearly elevates everything that Anopheli already does well. Yet, through every build, crescendo and blistering romp, it is difficult to truly single out one component of Anopheli’s approach as most important to the success of The Ache of Want. If there is but one point that should be taken from this review, it is the undeniable truth that albums like The Ache of Want are what makes obsessive Bandcamp fishing more than worthwhile.

Anopheli’s The Ache of Want gets…

4/5

-SM

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