Anticosm – The Call of the Void Review

Anticosm - The Call of the Void 01Sit down, kids. It’s storytime. Thrash is a genre that has finally opened up to me in recent times and this is partly attributable to the blackened sub-genre. Deströyer 666 and Hellripper opened my eyes to the sheer energy and surprising hooks which can be present when linked with black metal, while the likes of early Slayer overlapped with an old favorite in classic metal. I saw more clearly the interconnected map of styles in the ’80s and was lured in with the treats of genres with which I was better accustomed. The prospect of a new blackened thrash release in the promo bin was therefore exciting and so it was that I turned to New Jersey’s Anticosm and their third full-length entitled The Call of the Void (Call). Is it a powerful scream into the abyss? Or will I want my time back?

Call seems at first to not stray its blackened thrash bounds. The black ‘half’ is of the melodic variety, sounding vaguely akin to Dissection, whereas the thrash ‘half’ evokes the Bay Area, Metallica in particular. This distinct fusion whiffs more than a little of the debut Frosthelm record; that same image is invoked in me of chopping scythes in a cold room. The opener, “Viral,” illustrates this quality. It introduces Magnus Siedlecki and Keith Romanski on lead and rhythm guitars in its first riff which features the straight-forward grooves of thrash but at the speed and intensity conveyed by tremolo-picking. Both black and thrash metal bands can leave the bass guitar behind in arranging themselves but this is not the case here: Tom Wilson’s bass is not just audible through decent speakers and cans, but adopts a prominent role by commanding the rhythms. Rounding out the package are the busy drums which move beyond simple blast beats, and urgent, rasped vocals which flip between punky barks and a higher-pitched snarl.

Blackened thrash this may be but Aura Noir it ain’t. While I can’t say Call is a varied record as it has a consistent sound, other elements are drawn into this mix which distinguishes it to a certain extent. There’s a distinctly classic metal tone draped over the rawer core of the sound, with an eccentric shredding guitar taking the lead for instrumental passages. “Scorched Earth” enjoys one of the record’s coolest solos, adopting a clean yet overdriven sound which confers an 80s aesthetic to the track. The shredding lead on “The Only Truth” has a similar effect, while the galloping rhythms on “Someone Must Suffer” are ripped straight out of the NWoBHM. Conversely, “Never Enough” at the record’s conclusion is a punky, black n’ roll number which highlights the Motörhead influence in Anticosm‘s sound, ripping through its three minutes with brevity which other tracks sometimes lack.

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If I have a complaint it’s that three of the four songs exceeding five minutes are too long. These longer tracks boast good riffs and engaging material but don’t quite have the impact they should given that riffs are just stitched together in a way where the songs could be chopped up and rearranged without losing much. Addressing this point from the other side, another highlight is “Somewhere Between Life and Death” which excels on account of its relative concision. It’s direct and built around 1 core riff which undergoes development and embellishment but which ties the track together. The exception to the long track trend is the title track which runs a satisfying course across its duration: it opens with a pretty acoustic passage, batters its listener with great riffs in the middle, layers into true density in its second half before stripping back once more to conclude.

Call is a fun record and one with which you have little to lose but time; it’s available, along with the entire Anticosm discography, for the very reasonable price of nothing at all via their Bandcamp. The clear mix, which allows the various instrumentation (and not just the guitars) to have strong definition, and the hooky melodies ensure that Call is well worth your time as a fan of either of its composite genres. While it’s not consistently great and is strangely bloated for a not over-long, thrashing record, it is a strong record in the round. Give it a try if your forename is Mark and your surname is Z.

Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 256 kbps MP3
Label: Hell Kill Destroy Records
Releases worldwide: August 16th, 2019

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