With a thick pervading breath and heavy oppressive mass the debut album from Swedish doom metal band Anguish takes hold of and consumes ears, heart and soul. It is that simple and if it doesn’t win over the latter two with one it will still surely leave an indelible mark upon the senses. Through The Archdemons Head is a formidable release that demands and grabs attention, an album that ensures at the very least a hefty slice of one’s emotions as its muscular riffs and sonically scorched melodies twist and wind senses around their black intent until they are ready to snap.
From Uppsala, the quartet of vocalist J. Dee, guitarists David Eriksson and Kribbe (Christoffer Frylmark), and drummer Ralle (Rasmus Jansson) have feasted upon and been inspired by their influences to create a brutal beast that tests and stretches the listener but ultimately gives strong satisfaction and dark pleasure. It is not one for those looking for light and warmth, its eight tracks spawn from the darkest bitter pits with rivers of venom and bile, but it certainly stirs up feelings, thoughts and the pulse rate. Released via Dark Descent Records on February 14th Through The Archdemons Head is not without flaws but for a debut it is a strong and intriguing promise of what Anguish can and undoubtedly will unleash ahead.
Formed in 2007 the band bring their influences to their sound, the likes of Candlemass, Pentagram and Black Sabbath openly flavouring the bestial doom cacophonies that fill the release. Initial demo from the band in 2010, Dawn Of Doom drew attention their way but it will be with this album that they make their first solid mark, the first of many one suspects. The album is veined with mountainous and heart pounding riffs induced from the ‘beginning of time’, their immense power and presence making Anguish and their sound impossible to dismiss even if their overall consumption is not for everyone.
The lumbering start infused with dark menace of the title track sets up the release to over whelm and search out every corner of the senses. It prowls and bristles within the ear, slowly forcing its way through to pummel and give notice of what is yet to come. From the off the riffs are treacle like, the rhythms bestial, and the sound marching to the call of death’s funereal pace. This brief beginning leads into ‘Book Of Fox’ without a breath taken in thought or pace. By this second track the first challenge is apparent in the vocals of J. Dee; his grating caustic tones a harsh scraping upon ear and senses. This is not a problem as such, though it takes some getting used to but his delivery carries little variation making it difficult at times to look behind his gut formed sound.
The album lurches from one deliciously riff laden doom leviathan to another, their length and intensity deep and long. The mighty ‘When The Ancients Dare To Walk’, the dark dolorous descent of ‘Dawn Of Doom’, and the almost vibrant ‘Lair Of The Gods’ where there is an irresistible groove that almost sees the album offer an upbeat moment, all stand out and show the impressive ability of the band musically and in creating exhaustive wicked consumptions. The final track ‘Morbid Castle’ though probably overlong is a tasty exercise in permeating ears and beyond with a suffocating oppressive atmosphere and monumental predatory riffs plus perceptive guitar formed melodies. It is the most varied and diverse track on the album and an indicator that the band are at their best when they try to expand their sound.
The closer also highlights the other slight negative about Through The Archdemons Head, the similarity across the tracks. Without a break they could easily play as one epic movement, their pace, constructs and intensity even but relatively samey until the final song. It is not a fatal flaw but for the band to find their promise realised one feels diversity certainly vocally and in their songs structure will aide them. Despite that Through The Archdemons Head is a fine debut and Anguish a band to watch closely.
Anguish – When The Ancients Dare To Walk