2018 has been the year that progressive, technical death metal reigned supreme; with outstanding releases from Rivers of Nihil, Alkaloid, Augury, Slugdge, Obscura and countless others dominating the year’s musical landscape. The best and most talked about of these releases have come from more-established acts and well known acts. Yet, progressive death metal’s prominance this year has not come without it’s fair share of fantastic underground releases as well, and Switzerland’s Anachronism (along with The Beast of Nod) represent the pinnacle of what this new crop of challengers have to offer the genre.
Where Anachronism set themselves apart is in blending the dissonant atmospherics that dominated last year’s discussion, along with more brutal undertones in with the usual progressive death metal palette. Jazzy progressive passages still abound, but they are of a kind more akin to those of Gorguts or Gigan than the more Rush and Yes-inspired passages that have been weaving their way throughout extreme music this year. There’s also a chaos present in the drumming, reminiscent of Ulcerate,or often the likes of Suffocation and Immolation, which is likely due to drummer Florent Duployer’s background in such delightfully-named brutal death metal bands as Kakothanasy and Dynamite Abortion.
The band have two previous studio releases under their belt, in their debut album Senseless (2012) and 2015’s more polished Reflecting The Inside EP. However, it’s on their second full-length—the freshly-released Orogeny—that they’ve truly come into their own. The record makes a firm statement with its opening number, “Anthropocene”, which perfectly showcases the various aspects Anachronism have to offer. In just three and a half minutes, the track takes you through each aspect of the record’s eclectic, extreme metal soundscape—accomplishing more in a single number than many bands of their ilk have spent albums trying to achieve.
It’s arguably the record’s crowning moment, but that’s not to say that any of the album’s other material falls short. Orogeny‘s dense thirty-five minutes manage to stay constantly fresh, with each track acting as it’s own complete package, while also adding to the overall torrent of bombarding dissonance that characterizes the album as a whole. Late highlights, such as “Cursed Be The Senses” and the sprawling, instrumental closing set of “Endotherm” and “11’034” ensure there’s something to stick around for. The delicate, almost Pink Floyd-esque note on which the album closes provides a stark contrast to its chaotic beginnings, suggesting a resolution to the ballistic violence that populated its earlier moments—albeit one which is ready to erupt again at any given moment.
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In a year where one can scarecely move for great, progressive death metal releases, Orogony stands tall. The record acts as a fantastic melting pot for everything the genre has to offer in 2018 and beyond and is executed with a deftness and ear for nuance worthy of an act far further into their career than this budding Swiss trio.
Orogeny is out now. Grab it, along with Anachronism’s previous release over at their bandcamp page.