Chasing Sanity is the new solo project from Erik Martin, formerly of Erik Dismembered and one half of Skin Drone; a new creative adventure born from the ashes of the first of those two when Martin decided to “start over and rebrand” himself and his music having felt “uninspired to write anything under the Erik D moniker”. In many ways, Chasing Sanity is closer in style to his work with Otto Kinzel as Skin Drone but as swiftly revealed within debut album Anathema, creating its own unique and fascinating world of imagination and sound.
Though you might primarily tag Anathema as Avant Industrial Metal, it is equally a kaleidoscope of atmospheric and cinematic textures drawn from the darkest corners and depths of the imagination. Every track is a challenge and canvas for the imagination to conjure upon and a place where intimate horrors collude with broader nightmares. Themed by “anxious depression and anger” bred in Martin’s own experienced emotional turmoil, the album opens with You Fiend. Primarily an instrumental release, the first track features the vocal prowess of Nate Exx Gradowski from Isolated Antagonist, AutomatoN, and Quo. Straight away the raw snarl of guitar stalks the senses, inserting their toxic magnetism as Gradowski adds his multi-textured presence within a similarly diverse lure of synths. Every second of the song leads to a fresh turn and unpredictable twist, Gradowski’s switches between harsh and clean vocals matched very second of the way by invasive yet captivating sound.
In many ways, the opener is a straight forward proposal to embrace compared to its successors where the imagination is as active as ears. Cursed is next up, gliding in on the infectious throb of bass as an increasing web of sound and noise insert their suggestive glimpses into the track’s brewing landscape. Drama fuels every second, metal nurtured riffs and trespasses gripping bait but persistently interrupted by haunting atmospherics and sombre shadows to catch ears and thoughts off guard time and time again. As with all pieces, interpretation will be unique to the individual but unavoidable as the track provokes and inspires before Depths Of Euphoria immerses ears in its own disarming quiet suggestiveness. Even more cinematic than its predecessor, the song is like a flight through night clad scenery with sinister shadows and dark traps waiting to spring.
The industrial intimidation of Haunted Walls quickly has thoughts and emotions involved next; danger and innocence entangling within its guitar veined gothic body. It is a dark place though with the invasive intent of a Hostel found cell, every step within its fascination wrought with tension and ill-intent before Dismembered Thoughts brings some light to the release with its infectious waltz. Yet it too is a tenebrous dance with treachery and menacing asides, keeping ears and thoughts again wary and busy throughout its passage through to the steely net of sonic intimation cast by Orange Bottle. A blend of textures and styles unite for its metal nurtured shuffle, the track prowling the senses as it commandingly ignites physical and mental involvement.
Pills, Pain And An Autopsy creates its own travelogue through the dark tunnels and layers of psyche and suggestion where caliginous beauty and thought infesting angst breed their own unique connection. The track continues to grow and blossom, never escaping its haunting shadows but nurturing a myriad of melodic hues and evocative textures within its atmospheric immersion.
The final pair of tracks upon the EP sees Martin linking up with firstly Rockwater Pictures for Red Death and its percussive and inhuman infestation of the psyche and lastly with Chris Bollinger of Kill Point Protocol and Varicella in Salem, 1666. The final track only needs Vincent Price’s distinctive growl to be the complete cinematic nightmare, one offering extreme and industrial metal surges seemingly glimpsed through a damaged canvas slashed by the claws of the horned one. As the album, it needs numerous plays to settle on a final interpretation, if you ever can, with thick enjoyment flowing through every attempt.
There is no doubt that Anathema is a challenge, one only venturing within its dark realms will reveal whether you will embrace or flee from it, but as is the theme with Erik Martin’s work, it is a testing which leaves you mentally and physically alive and indeed welcomingly exhausted. Chasing Sanity pretty much sums up the sound and experience of Anathema, something we all do in varying ways through life.
Anathema is out now across most stores and @ https://chasingsanity.bandcamp.com/
Pete RingMaster 26/07/2017
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