Review: “Elan Vital” by Anchillys

A decade in gestation, “Elan Vital” is the debut album from Anchillys, in every sense of the word the solo project of Andy Wit. Known for his work as a guitarist in Once Begotten and as a touring bassist in Dictated, here he not only writes and records all the music as a multi-instrumentalist but also writes all the lyrics and mixed and mastered at Private Studios 2021. The only elements outsourced were the artwork by H-Hich Design the band logo by Visual Defect and the photography by Michel Vriens. A concept album of sorts, inspired by an inner meditative odyssey lyrically, Wit explores his own love – hate relationship with human existence, having started the project in the bedroom of his childhood home, then fought sleepless nights in a 19th century rehearsal bunker writing and recording his magnum opus…

As you may have guessed by the title, opening instrumental “Birth” sets the tome for the album with a plethora of Progressive Technical Death Metal riffs that bring flavours of “The Silent Circus” era Between The Buried And Me to the surface before the break neck pace of “Dirt & Essence” creates a frenetic and violent energy. Carried on the winds of plague, Wit demonstrates his skills in all disciplines without flaw, seemingly sparing us a drum machine and providing some jackhammer footwork to create swirling dark moods to accompany the schizophrenic lyrical narrative. His throat splitting vocals are equally impressive and he is able to maintain the illusion of a full band playing these songs throughout, much to our disbelief. Cleverly worked tempo changes in cuts like “Elan Vital” allow for the building of atmosphere and bone crushing rhythmic demonstrations that mean the absence of any solos is barely noticed. The bass drive on “Extramundane” leads into some Slam inspired vocal moments, Wit experimenting with Downtempo groove to lethal effect before breaking into a rapid fire onslaught while sounding like the vocal equivalent of a tornado of souls. “Gates Of Hades” is reminiscent of recent works by Archspire or Inferi, dancing on the brain like a bullet ricochet with fretboard igniting riffs accompanied by restless and relentless blasting of highest order. It feels like being dragged kicking and screaming through a hedge backwards in the best possible way until another well worked slow down for that slow headbang allows some breathing space before “Somniphobic” sets it all off again. The tribal drum fills of early Sepultura set this one going but it’s the mid cut bassline bleed through that steals the show as the Dutchman once again proves himself to be a beast of a musician and a force to be reckoned with. “Evan Vital” would be a great album if it was from a full band but the fact it’s the work of one man alone adds a mind blowing factor and there are times when you’re left wondering just how Andy Wit has been able to create this on his own. It’s no wonder it took him a decade to work and re-work these songs, whipping them into shape and trimming the fat to leave us with something that sounds modern and contemporary with nods to the bands he grew up with. All we need now is for him to flesh this project out into a full band so we can witness these compositions in the live arena [8/10]

Track Listing

1. Birth
2. Dirt & Essence
3. Elan Vital
4. Extramundane
5. Gate Of Hades
6. Somniphobic
7. Sands Of Genitalia
8. Khamsin’s Menace

Elan Vital” by Anchillys is out 26th August 2022 with pre-orders available over at bandcamp

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