Review: “Planet Storm MMXXI” by Anomaly

If you’re not living in an oppressive regime then life is about choices, each one that you make representing a fork in the road that takes you down the garden path to the next, with some being more important than others. For  Milwaukee, Wisconsin Death Metal quintet Anomaly, the choice they made was to re-record their 2019 debut EP “Planet Storm” and add five new cuts to it to formulate their debut full length to create a science fiction oddessey the likes of which this World has never seen…

…eerie introduction piece “Zero Gravity” sets the tone with synths underpinning a spoken word that throws back to classic Science Fiction films like “Alien” or “Red Planet” with an aged quality as if from 1979 and those remain in the background on “A Gift From Theia” with Mary Beers an understated and yet vitally important cog in the Anomaly machine when it comes to creating creepy atmospherics. They say the first cut is often the deepest and this one certainly draws blood as a rampaging Death Metal cut that gets the adrenaline pumping and heads banging, while also having a tasteful solo. The sound of Anomaly borders on the Technical side like circling the edge of an active volcano with incendiary riffage delivered at breakneck speed while the use of a cleaner guitar tone means that you get to hear everything without losing any in the abyss of distortion. The leads of  “Lurking in the Bootes Void” are simply jaw dropping and see the band reach out and touch more progressive notes, perhaps taking a leaf out of the Allegaeon book, all helping build the dynamic of the themes of the album without necessarily being concept driven. Vocally vicious Neil Tidqist is a deep thinker when it comes to lyrics and fortunately his tone means that all of those efforts are not lost to those not holding the bands hymn sheet. Each cut here  offering a bleak depiction of the extinction of humanity in various guises, “Caught in the Ergosphere” seeing him dragged kicking and screaming into a Wormhole while having a glorious spacey melodic central instrumental with vocoding provided by Arhallogen creating a soundscape truly cinematic.

The decision to re-record might seem like an odd one on the face of it but in order to achieve consistency of sound between the older and newer material it was pretty much essential, although the second half of the album could have been considered an EP in its own right as the record is split clean in two by another introduction piece in “Antares“. The continuity between the two halves is contained within the storyline and themes that run throughout, John Ibarra’s face melting solo on “Subterranean Worlds” being a moment of gargantuan proportions. In moments like that comparisons with bands like Between The Buried And Me become relevent as they do with the elongated solo of the album title track, the mesmerising qualities of the music helping you drift away to distant planets in pure escapism and those leads. Wow. There are also moments of familiarity here which give the band something of an instant hook as if you’re a fish being reeled in by some genre riff moments that others have used to similarly devestating effect. They maybe few and far between but they are here, the thunderous “The Observable Universe” being a fine example of something that might find you thinking you’ve heard something before. Not that that is a bad thing by any stretch, some of the finest guitarists in the World have been subliminally influenced at some point along the line and here is does Anomaly a few favours. A mind blowing album of epic grandeur that sees the band deserving of getting a standing ovation, this one is a contender for the album if the year awards as it has everything you could possibly want and more wrapped up in a bow and delivered with slick style. [9/10]

Track listing

  1. Zero Gravity
  2. A Gift from Theia
  3. Lurking in the Bootes Void
  4. Caught in the Ergosphere
  5. Antares
  6. Subterranean Worlds
  7. Planet Storm
  8. The Observable Universe
  9. Remains of a Cosmic Catastrophe

Planet Storm” by Anomaly is out 17th September 2021 and available over at bandcamp

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