Your daily dose of self-loathing, self-pity, and existential dread is brought to you by Austrian nihilists Anomalie. Visions, their third full-length, is 51-minutes of lead-heavy post-black depressiveness that’s intensified by stretches of sparse atmospherics and solemn neo-folk. Like the style of fellow countrymen Harakiri for the Sky, Anomalie’s music has an introspective density that explores all the shades of the blackened rainbow. Their sound fits snugly into the mold created by countless others over the years. Is this an over-comfortable re-hashing that leads to tepidity and blandness, or does this re-shape the mold? There’s just too much music on offer in the world and we must be selective.

Visions is the sound of a Wednesday afternoon in March. It’s a decent record with sporadic moments of excitement, however for the most part the album fades into a lethargic mass that reeks of tedium and blandness. To take you by surprise, the opener “Vision I: Towards the Sun” opens excellently with wispy atmospheric subtleties galore: acoustic guitars ring, a fire burns, and solemn cleans lament; and from the gloom comes ethereal guitar lines and warming melodies that counteract with generic growls and a spoken-word dirge. The atmospheric touches throughout – steel acoustic guitar reverberations, airy folk-interludes, and the throb and pulse of ominous electronics – act as a reasonably memorable hook, however their impact is lessened by their patchy integration into material. A lot of the songs consist of jagged cut-and-paste jobs that peak and build unevenly. When a song seems to be building mood well– as in the third track “Vision III” – the transition to the sole ringing of an acoustic guitar saps the life from the song.

The riffs are mostly forgettable too, bubbling but never exploding. There are flashes of something a bit more interesting at times, of riffs trying to add more depth, tension and variety to the largely monotone and depressive feel of the album. This is particularly the case with the second track, “Visions II – The Wanderer.” Melodic tendrils rise through the dense depression, reaching for breath as its pulled back by the swampy suck and plod of thick drums, deep background noise, and an anchored bass. The problem is, Visions is too consistent with its middle of the road riffs. If you know the genre well you’ve heard these forlorn progressions multiple times before. “Vision V,” as an example, meanders with high-pitched licks that make way for monotone chugs and melancholic chord progressions that, although decent enough, fall flat. Similarly, “Vision VI – White Forest” attempts to merge the cacophonic with airier moments of dark folk. Although decent as standalone moments, they just don’t merge naturally enough for my liking.

The drums expel a rusty bin-lid clang that creates an off-kilter effect that is obtrusive during lulls and moments of quiet. The vocals, too, are off-kilter with their dehydrated forcefulness, merging an over-enunciated Randy Blythe deepness with a dry drawl that lacks the variety and nuance to take songs to the next level. However, the spoken-word vocal passages do capture a melodramatic verve that may either offend or excite you. Personally, these spoken word passages – sometimes merged with female vocals – add a sincere touch to a rather robotic sounding album. This is certainly the case in the rumbling Panopticon-esque track “Visions II” as a dramatic performance, accompanied by melodic string bends, forces its way through the murkiness to talk of the ‘essence of existence’ expiring.

Clean vocal passages, especially during the dark-folk moments, also provide a powerful alternative. If Anomalie explored this side of their sound more – something in the vein of Dornereich, Aquilus, or folk Ulver – they may find a more standout sound. Final track “One with the Soil” retains a post-black, depressive edge whilst being driven by a folky, Pagan sound that includes well-placed acoustic transitions, more subtle and measured drumming, and dreamy female vocals. It’s one of the few songs that works because it relies a lot more on creating an organic atmosphere that doesn’t seem stitched together from a multitude of disparate materials.

Visions just falls short. There are too many other bands who play a similar style; we’re simultaneously blessed and corrupted by having too many choices and options. This may have missed the mark for me, but there may be, as with all our reviews, something that excites you.

Rating: 2.0/5.0
DR: 8| Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Art of Propaganda 
Websites: |
Releases Worldwide: March 17th, 2017

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    3rd consecutive review with antlers on the cover, I call METAL BINGO

    • Winner, winner, chicken dinner!

      Love this cover, wish the songs had lived up to the cover art.

      • Eli Valcik

        The cover art is really cool. I’m an artist and I’m always dissapointed when I fall in love with album art but the songs never live up to it.

        • METAL OTTER

          After a quick Google search, I found out that the cover art was done by an artist called Gaston. He uses antlers in all of his decorating.

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      Antlers are the new Satan.

  • jersey devil

    I had low expectations after reading the review but upon listening found this album to be quite good. Maybe the riffs weren’t supernatural but the melodies were great. Especially like the inclusion of acoustic guitars. Quality record overall for me.

  • Ein Sophistry

    Tool called. They want their Salival dude back.

  • 2/5, seriously? It’s unbelievable how good this album is. Definitely the best release of 2017 to this point.

  • sir_c

    In a way the 2.0 is a bit harsh cos what I heard so far is not really bad or so. I’ve heard worse sounding bands who got higher ratings. But you are right, there’s a lot of fish in this pond.

  • Based off listening to the Wanderer and White Forest this is one of the standouts of the year so far for me. I hope the rest doesn’t disappoint. Great atmosphere with awesome melodies and chord progressions. The spoken parts are the only down side so far.

  • Dudeguy Jones

    I feel like this is a problem that black metal is having as a whole right now. Theres too much. Of all varieties. And a lot of it is passably good. More so even. A lot of it is actually pretty good. But after a few hundred pretty good albums over the past four years Im finding it harder and hard to find the shining gems. Something decent will take my attention away for an album length, even if I never listen to it again.

    So… with that… I will probably enjoy this.. But will i love it? Maybe i just leave it at the cover art. Its very nice and Im not feeling any conflict right now. I could just enjoy that and go back to listening to Ars Magna Umbrae or something else thats tickling my fancy right now.

    • Sean Sky

      I can agree with that. I’ll have to give this album a try but black metal has just been pouring out non-stop and it’s hard to keep up. I’ve actually found myself interested in death metal releases again lately (which I haven’t cared much about in many years) just because it’s something a bit different for me right now.

      • Dudeguy Jones

        I feel like death metal is going really strong right now too. Overall, I agree with that shift. Venenum and Lantern are both very well written albums that also bring a black quality, via blasted, tremolo riffing sections, but the doom and death elements, so competently interwoven, really make the visceral black metal parts stand out much more than a whole album of that stuff.

        • Sean Sky

          Yeah, lot’s of really solid death metal releases right now re-sparking my interest in the genre. Immolation, The Ominous Circle, Lantern, Replacire, Chthe’ist, etc. have all been getting lots of play. Then again… bands like Wormwood and Pillorian remind me why I love black metal too.

  • Drew Music

    I’m still kinda surprised that something by one of Harakiri For The Sky’s live members – featuring a guest narrative by Heike of Draconian, no less – got a 2 here with little to no wrath from the peanut gallery, especially considering typical 2.0 company of the past versus how not-weak this is. I slept on this because I’m a lazy little lemming and had no time for 2’s, then recently went on a Harakiri For The Sky binge that lead back to this, lo and behold I now have another contender for my top ten of the year.
    I trusted you, Ake! Don’t try to cover your ass with that last line, either. I expect your opinions to be 666% flawless and to coincide with mine at all times, and that’s your problem not mine.

  • Nukenado

    The cutting and pasting is pretty jarring…
    This is no Funeral Dream.

    • Nukenado

      Hmm… Might give this another try.