Antropomorphia are a death metal band, hailing from Tilburg (Netherlands) and this, their latest offering is packed with themes of gore, necrophilae, murder, necromancy and necrolesbian lust or at least that’s what I’m lead to believe. Originally formed as Dethroned Empire in 1989 (a blackened thrash metal act with similarities to Hellhammer (Celtic Frost) and Infernal Majesty) sometime between 1990 and 1993 a line-up change saw the Antropomorphia beast born and unleashed with the addition of death and necrometal elements. The band state that they’re ‘dedicated to composing a new sort of disturbing death metal darkness which exceeds most of the one-dimensional releases that you hear most of these days!’ and being that these beasts are signed to Metal Blade and boast mastering done at Swedish studio Necromorbus (who you’ll remember delivered the goods by dragging Zombiefication‘s Reaper’s Consecration spitting and scratching from their cold dark graves earlier this year) I had high expectations for Evangelivm Nekromantia.
The Antropomorphia unholy trinity consists of Ferry Damen (vocals and guitar), Marco Stubbe (drums) and Marc van Stiphout (bass) and best I can describe their sound is to say that vocally it reminds me of Mikael Åkerfeldt during his stint with Bloodbath and a somewhat watered down version of Oracles-era Tommaso Riccard of Fleshgod Apocalypse. Let’s get something straight from the get-go shall we, Madam X does NOT, under any circumstances, like her metal watered down!
The largely spoken, “Intro” track kicks off the album and sadly it’s tiresome and lacking in inspiration or any real excitement; in fact I’d go as far as saying, it’s dull and been done before. The remaining tracks have a somewhat quicker pace and are bruisingly heavy and guitar and drum driven. Unfortunately at the same time once again they feel stale to me, and while the unholy trinity are certainly competent musicians, the guitar riffs feel as though they repeat over and over and as if for good measure over again. While I would think this would see the tracks attaching themselves in fine parasitic fashion to your brain much like a 3 foot Facehugger welding itself to your face, instead it just left me feeling bored and unable to tell where one song ended and the next begins. The production of the album also left me with more questions than answers, and much of the time the vocals just disappeared too far back into the mix for my liking and other instances, like “Anointment by Sin” and “Fleisch” hit me as overly chaotic with the layers of vocals sounding messy and confusing.
My favourite tracks on the album were “Impure Desecration” (largely for Ferry’s plaintive, tortured screams of deliciousness around the 3:13 mark… yes, yes, I know it’s supposed to be about the music, not the tortured screams) and the achingly beautiful, purely instrumental title track “Evangelivm Nekromantia”. That being said, I do think that “Evangelivm Nekromantia” is in fact 2 minutes too long and definitely should have ended sooner rather than later.
This is not an album I’m going to rush out and buy and I can’t in all honesty recommend it. While there are great torturous moments thrown in here and there, overall Antropomorphia have failed to deliver on their claims of a ‘new sort of disturbing death metal darkness’ and this does not excite me. Despite playing the album around a dozen times – still zero Facehugger effect – really, how is that even possible? So it seems this was just another ant-infested, rained out picnic [sigh]! The hopeless necromantic in me feels horribly cheated!