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Echoes of the Fallen
[Metal Blade; 09/13/2011]
Sickness Unto Death Metal
Welsh sextet Anterior is finally back with a second album. Echoes of the Fallen finds them developing in a awesomely dramatic direction. While melodic, Anterior’s death metal hewed closer to metalcore sounds in the past, and their 2007 debut This Age of Silence really held only a few hints of what was to come next.
On Echoes of the Fallen, they’ve borrowed liberally and boldly from extreme metal’s musical antecedents in prog rock and new wave British metal and succeeded brilliantly at it. Grandstanding prog riffs and endlessly spiraling melodic passages coexist with screaming and chugging more easily than usual — perhaps because the band didn’t forget to write tight songs while they were going for the gusto.
Every inch of the album is cut from steel; so, when guitarists Leon Kemp and Steven Nixon light into one of the album’s ’70s style solos (See: “Blood in the Throne Room”) they are not winking at the audience, which makes it all the more enjoyable. It doesn’t even come off as an homage to the past. They’re simply combining the best of all worlds to maximize on righteousness.
The excellent mix of old and new viciousness peaks on “The Evangelist.” It rolls out on a raft of blast beats, rent by vocalist Luke Davies’s leather lungs, but ultimately the song is carried by heroic guitars, as the album is generally. Davies’s guttural yet supple vocals actually add majesty to the proceedings. He transcends rote metalcore vocals here and often sounds like he’s actually screaming to be heard above gale force winds.
The real beauty of this return is the way that these incredibly talented players were able to convey their musical ideas in a way that’s packed with emotion. It’s possible that Anterior’s collective skill level has simply improved so much over the past few years that the band needed to show every last bit of it off. Thankfully, they managed to do this and release an album that’s exciting to listen to.