Review: “Ex Nihilo” by Anzillu

Recorded and mixed by Nino Laurenne (Amorphis, Ensiferum, Wintersun) at Sonic Pump Studios and mastered by Svante Forsback (Volbeat, Soulfly, Kalmah) at Chartmakers “Ex Nihilo” marks the debut offering to the Metal Gods from Finnish Extreme Metal act Anzillu. Formed in 2019 by guitarist Jesse Kämäräinen following the breakup of his previous band, this new entity operated under cover of darkness, taking their name from the ancient Sumerian word for “Abomination“. Almost a year ago, in February 2022 they revealed themselves with first single and album opening cut “Needles (On My Nerves)“, so now it is finally time for the group, rounded out by vocalist Teemu Kemppainen, guitarist Sami Katajainen and bassist Rasmus Kantonen to demonstrate their true power…

…Tino Jäntti (Vanguardian, Ezograh, ex-Inkvisitor) is the man to grace the drum stool for the record, seemingly used as a session musician but on this evidence they could use keeping in the fold if possible. His powerhouse display on the Thrash fuelled opening cut “Needles (On My Nerves)” alone is enough evidence for a Judge and Jury to convict on. The cut sounds distinctly like what you would expect from a Bay Area San Francisco act circa 1985 but with modern production and sharp edges giving it more punch and snap with smouldering lead and solo parts confirming the quality of the musicianship. It’s not something stuck in a time warp but instead a fresh interpretation front loaded with buzzsaw riffs and shredding as “Mental Graveyard” approaches Death Metal intensity in places, the adrenaline flowing through the veins as the hairs raise on the back of the neck to headbangable sounds the band have created. The intertwining solos on this one mesmerizing as the two guitars trade off in Trivium like style, the snarling vocals from Kemppainen offering something with a little more Megadeth flavour. The rampaging “Trumpets Of War” is equally as full throttle until a melodic break for a solo mid cut that offers a momentary reprieve before the relentlessly neck snapping finale makes for what can only be described as the Chef’s Kiss. Four cuts in with “The Cleansing Flame” and Anzillu can do no wrong, proving that taking time to get these songs to the quality that matched their vision in the rehearsal space pays off. A blast of a classic Thrash cut, it has all the elements of the earlier cuts with a heightened energy, the bands musicianship sublime.

The dark melodies of “Discordia” find the Anzillu changing things up a little while maintaining the incendiary energy and flow of the record, which runs like a river to the sea. Another spellbinding extended solo lights the blue touch paper on this one, helping elevate it from solid to stunning faster than a Lamborghini goes from zero to eighty when you put your foot to the floor. The quality of the musicianship is second to none and by the time “Dauntless” hits like a wrecking ball with a barrage of breakdowns that burst into a Kerry King like solo, it’s hard to imagine how the album could actually get any better – and yet – there is more. “Splinter In The Minds Eye” rips up the road like a Harley Davidson leaving a trail of flames behind it, a face melting solo taking a leaf from the book of Spanish Thrash overlords Angelus Apatrida before quite literally blasting to the final moments with Jäntti in the form of his life. His Dave Lombardo inspired fills are the perfect foil for the band and when “Vulture” hits like a punch in the guts, he’s on fire behind the kit. A shorter, sharper cut executed like a laser guided missile strike, it paves the way for the all too obvious extended grand finale that is the title track. Stretching things out to eight and a half minutes, “Ex Nihilo” finds Kemppainen on the brink of insanity, the band offering mindless violence and endless circle pit action to those who would dare step in front of them when they take to the stage. Again the band offer a mid track melodic moment, a momentary reprieve, this time with eerie qualities before driving down the darkness by unleashing another tsunami of riffs. This is what the edge of the seat was made for [9/10]

Track Listing

  1. Needles (On My Nerves)
  2. Mental Graveyard
  3. Trumpets of War
  4. The Cleansing Flame
  5. Discordia
  6. Dauntless
  7. Splinter In The Minds Eye
  8. Vulture
  9. Ex Nihilo

Ex Nihilo” by Anzillu is out 27th January 2023 via M-Theory Audio and is available over at bandcamp.

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