Black Anvil – As Was Review

Author : Laura Cosheril

BLACK ANVIL are one of those bands that you either love or hate, their musical style is so unrelenting and unbound that it can be hard to connect with at times. With that being said, their new release “As Was” promises to be “more diverse, complex, and thought-provoking than anything they’ve done before” this statement definitely gets the curiosity flowing. Their previous releases are already so diverse in musical tone and feel that I find it hard to imagine anything more varied.

Opening track “On Forgotten Ways” serves as Hecate’s welcoming embrace as we begin the journey through “As Was”. The track definitely follows up on the band’s promise to be diverse; it offers countless musical twists and turns with hammering drums, galloping riffs and haunting vocals. Although, while being a varied track, it doesn’t sound much different to the band’s 2014 release “Hail Death” and doesn’t really offer anything out of the ordinary for BLACK ANVIL.

It’s not until the second track “May Her Wrath Be Just” that these changes begin to be noticed, mainly in the way the vocals seem to blend into the track without becoming lost in the mayhem. It’s soft and spectral while being ferocious and evil at the same time. But it’s not until the following title track where BLACK ANVIL truly shine and the previous statement of thought-provoking rings true. “As Was” is a six-and-a-half minute long journey into your deepest emotions and subconscious. The raw emotion emanating from this song alone is staggering.

From this track on is really where the album opens up and you begin to resonate with the songs on a somewhat intellectual level. The nine-minute spectacle that is “Two Keys: Here’s the Lock” is an absolute masterpiece. Starting off with a Blues style intro before engulfing in black fire it’s a whirlwind of styles and tones that exhibit just how talented BLACK ANVIL are as songwriters and musicians. The haunting vocal harmonies strike right at your soul inducing an almost euphoric feeling, much the same as hearing ROTTING CHRIST for the first time. The piercing emotion from each and every instrument is evident here and you really get the sense that BLACK ANVIL are drawing on real-life experiences for these tracks.

The mistake a lot of modern day Black Metal bands make is they either over-complicate their riffs or make them too simple that they lose their hunger and meaning. BLACK ANVIL have not fallen prey to either of these traps and have found a happy medium between the two, their music is not too complicated that it sounds disjointed and not too simple so that listening is a bore. There are so many tone changes throughout this album that it can sometimes be a little hard to keep track of what’s going on, but I’ve come to realise that that is the beauty of BLACK ANVIL. They have taken a more melodic approach with this album without compromising on the core Black Metal qualities that they’re known and loved for. We’re taken on an emotional, captivating journey through the darkest depths of BLACK ANVIL‘s minds and our own minds, it’s ominous, sinister and macabre and to be honest, I can’t get enough.

Rating: 4/5

Tracklist:

1. On Forgotten Ways
2. May Her Wrath Be Just
3. As Was
4. Nothing
5. As An Elder Learned Anew
6. Two Keys: Here’s The Lock
7. The Way Of All Flesh
8. Ultra

Band:
Paul Delaney – Bass, vocals
Raeph Glicken – Drums
Travis Bacon – guitar
Jeremy Sosville – guitar

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