There is no shame in having loved and lost – it’s a natural part of life and, as sure as the world turns and the seasons pass, as inevitable as our own eventual end. Love and death are two themes that are routinely romanticized, despite their irrefutably painful reality. By extension, The Netherlands’ Antropomorphia are also romantics… although not in the Byronic sense you might be expecting. If, like me, this is your first dance with the band, then you may be interested to learn that the death-metallers fourth release, Sermon ov Wrath, continues, amongst others, an apparent thematic trend in espousing the virtues of occult necrophilia – remember: 5 second rule, guys. Forging uncompromising, groove-heavy riffs, which may well have been the spawn of that time Deicide had one depraved night with Behemoth, and never called them back, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the band definitely know how to separate the wheat from the chaff – the living from the dead.

Although, undoubtedly playing host to a decidedly “blackened” element, it’s still very much a death metal sound that Antropomorphia have crafted throughout their deceptively long tenure. Sermon ov Wrath rumbles into life with the title track, full of no-nonsense death metal with a driving drum pattern to make Steve Asheim proud. “Susperia de Profundis” and album closer “In Bestial Decadence” are all straight for the throat but betray the bands understanding of song craft by each supplying enough head-bangable riffs to easily commit the tracks to memory. Conversely, it’s the more mid-paced moments where the album truly shines. “Murmur ov the Dead” doesn’t pretend to hide its blackened Polish influences, utilizing powerful melodies to aid vocalist and guitarist F.D.A in his deft, stentorian delivery.

Without doubt, the highlight, on a record certainly not devoid of quality, is “Crown ov the Dead,” knowingly heralded by its own mid-album intro. The song extensively borrows Swedish inspired verse riffs that would be more than comfortable featuring on any of Grave‘s offerings. Before it limits itself, it takes on a distinctly gothic overtone at the halfway point, where eerie female vocals, courtesy of Dool‘s Ryanne van Dorst, slither in under the lumbering rhythms, adding a nuance I just wasn’t expecting. In fact, diversity makes its home squarely in the middle of the album, with the macabre “Within Her Pale Tomb ov Putrid Lust” stolidly funneling melo-death barbed hooks through my headphones, which made my walk home from work particularly violent. Songs featuring morose atmospherics generated through F.D.A and Jos Van Den Brand’s sparse use of tremolo picked rhythms glaze much of the record with an arcane, yet overwhelming sense of fun.

Oddly, it’s the melange of inspirations that niggled at my time with Sermon ov Wrath the most. Although, admittedly a minor quibble at best, the center of the album is so superior in quality that it detracts from the more linear songs that bookend the record. Pacing seems to be a real issue in metal these days, and while this is an infinity away from being the worst offender, I would have liked to have found the tracks more evenly distributed. The fairly clean production frosts the guitars with a cold, metallic ringing, not unlike early career Amon Amarth. A pummeling double bass drum attack makes for a bold foundation for each song to gain malevolent traction; its just a shame that Marc Van Stiphout’s bass is so buried in the mix.

Opting to fuse Swedeath inspired riffing with melodic black metal sequences, Antropomorphia have crafted a record of unapologetically enjoyable death metal. Not content to allow their morbidity to bluster by unappreciated, Sermon ov Wrath instead opts to crush your enemies, drive them before you, and assume the mute lamentations ov their questionably animate women. If you’re a fan of death metal in its purest form like me, and have an appreciation for a highly memorable, well-crafted musical pathology, then be sure to lend this an ear.


Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 272 kbps mp3
Label: Metal Blade Records
Websites: antropomorphia-official.com | facebook.com/antropomorphia
Releases Worldwide: February 24th, 2017

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  • AlphaBetaFoxface

    BOOBS!

    • Monsterth Goatom

      So they’re like, who? The Judith sisters?

    • Oscar Albretsen

      The proper term is “breasts.”

      • Name’s Dalton

        Are you even a doctor?

        • Oscar Albretsen

          The proper term is “physician.”

    • sir_c

      mammalian protuberances

  • Reese Burns

    When the Unicorn that a review site uses for your band photo is better and more brutal than your actual album art, you’ve got a problem.

    • In fairness, that’s a really br00tal unicorn. More like a Demicorn actually.

      • Monsterth Goatom
        • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

          If ugly is a sin that dog is burning in Hell!

          • Makes you wonder what he did in his past life to deserve this. Hitler reincarnated?

          • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

            For that level of ugly, I have to say: worse.

      • Unlike pretty “my little pony” unicorns puking rainbows, this one was actually quite flattering relative to the metal at hand.

    • DrewMusic

      Still beats the Ex Deo conundrum. That dude could have greatly benefited from this unicorn.

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      I can see a sludge band stealing that unicorn for their album cover.

  • Monsterth Goatom

    Album ov Worth.

  • Bloated Goat

    I read that as Salmon ov Wrath.

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      That’s an album by Calm Hatchery.

      • Clam Hatchery!

      • Great music, but a terrible band name

        • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

          With band names like Calm Hatchery and almost any Metalcore band name (We butter the bread with butter? Really?) it really makes you think that all the good band names are taken.

          • DrewMusic

            At least they’re using words, not symbols or something EVNMRSTPD (XTRMST? Why, Davey, why?) Additionally, at least the plural-noun craze seems djust about over, so that’s a plus.

  • DrewMusic

    Things like this make me tend to believe that Swedes just can’t make bad metal, and then I remember Anders Fridén.

    • Ferrous Beuller

      Plus, they’re Dutch…

      • DrewMusic

        Fair enough, I read Swedeath and called it good. I’ll be back under my rock if anyone needs me.

        • Ferrous Beuller

          Nay! Dutch blackened Swedeath for everyone!

          • sir_c

            Well, the mastake is easily made: Dutch girls are also well known for their big… ehm… long blonde hair :-)

          • Name’s Dalton

            Huge tracts of land!

          • Name’s Dalton

            Swedutch?

            …I’ll be under Drew’s rock with him…

          • DrewMusic

            NO! This is MY rock, MINE!

      • Tofu muncher

        Deutch Metal, then?

    • Berit Dogg

      Hell yes we can! youtube[dot]com/watch?v=GkoX4MHQSdI)

      • DrewMusic

        I had thought that I was getting off lightly for my blunder; on some level I deserve this.

        • Berit Dogg

          No one deserves this. I am truly sorry and apologize to all of you.

  • sir_c

    I googled for “naked sisters with big breasts giving head”, but this cover did not come up.

  • Rites ov Perversion (2014) was fucking killer. If Sermon ov Wrath is as good, I want it badly. The embedded track ain’t all that good, but the title track of Bandcamp is pretty morbid.

    I see there’s a demand for more of this…
    http://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/74872ab7139d975d26462cbf86ccd909777c798323d06a3001c9f4e4e7de29d2.jpg

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    Death Metal and big boobs… awesome combination!

  • The Unicorn

    That Unicorn is meth’d out to all hell. Fuck.

  • That might be the best worst cover art I’ve ever seen.

    • Thatguy

      You don’t mean that.

      • DrewMusic

        Subtlety and hyperbole have had a rough go since we wandered into the interwebz.

        • Thatguy

          You are correct. I got that you were joking and so was I. I should have put a smiley emoji at the end of my comment.

          • [not a Dr]

            Upvoted because you didn’t actually put a smiley, even the second time.

          • Thatguy

            You get me. I’ve always been a jerk.

          • DrewMusic

            Emojis are tumors within our language. Christ, people back in the day – and so relatively little ago – used to be able to appreciate typewriters for what they were, how did we get to the point where hitting buttons (or even gliding across a friggen touchscreen) to conjure up words out of thin air is so much of a burden that we’d rather convey our thoughts and feelings via fucking cartoon?

    • Two topless femme fatales and the decapitated head of Christ, and still you’re complaining.

  • dduuurrrr dddduuuurrrr

    we want a cover that when people see it, they say “yeaaaahhhh… wait, what?”

  • lennymccall

    Dool mention got my attention. I’m loving that record!!