From Rocktopia by Ian Johnson
Swedish instrumental horror progressive metal is how the band Anima Morte is described in their record company info pack. That’s a genre that I haven’t heard of before, and with that kind of musical tag hanging around their necks what do Anima Morte really sound like? Well, I was expecting firstly, with the horror thing in the bands musical description, a lot of heavy, heavy guitars, grinding bass lines and pounding drums, plus some weird sounds and screaming. Instead what I found whilst playing ‘TNBR’ was a band that play really interesting prog rock that reminded me in places of Spock’s Beard, The Flower Kings and Sieges Even, just without the vocals. And even without the vocals the band’s strange but very interesting take on the whole prog genre, holds your attention from start to finish. For me this music could have been used as a soundtrack to an Italian slasher flick by that master of gore Dario Argento, which is I think what the band were probably aiming for.
Yet, I have, as I said in another review, rather shied away from instrumental albums as after the slew of guitar heroes that came and went in the late eighties and early nineties, that genre of rock music began to annoy me. I have always loved hearing the singer belt out the melodies, and too many of those instrumental albums were being released week on week back then. So what have Anima Morte done to change my mind about instrumental rock? Firstly they have made an album that I have found to be strangely enjoyable, even though there is not a singer in sight. The thoughtful, odd, ethereal quality to their music and the wonderful musicianship on show, made this album a joy to listen to, although as I have such a strange and eclectic love of rock and listen to most of its genres, and find pleasure in each, maybe this will not be a CD that everyone who reads this magazine will enjoy, so be warned! The more adventurous and the prog lovers among you may find much to like and enjoy as this album plays.
Kicking things off with the pompy keyboard laden ‘Corridor Of Blood’ is a stroke of genius, which only helps the band to draw you into the macabre world and sensuous music of Anima Morte. They then continue to entertain with songs as strong and as bold as ‘Contamination’, which reminded me of a lot of early Mike Oldfield, the beautiful Hammond organ led ‘Solemn Graves’, that features some wonderful, intricate acoustic guitar work, and ‘The Nightmare Becomes Reality’, which is another fascinating keyboard driven track that starts slowly and then builds into an exciting climax. Then lastly for is me is the albums tour de force, the eight minute plus ‘Things To Come’, a song that has some superb guitar and keyboard interplay and wonderful melodies, which are mixed with strange jazz rock passages that gel and work so well together, that you’re taken along on a fantastic musical journey.
Whilst I may think that the horror metal tag might be pushing what these guys are all about in the wrong direction, I will say that I did find this CD to be a clever mixture of weird, melodic and strange prog rock, that also turned out to be one of the more interesting albums that I have had the pleasure of listening to in quite a while.
Vintage Italian Horror Music From Sweden
You know, giallo, zombies and other stuff that rise from the grave...
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