With the voracious throat scarring tones of new vocalist Rudi Schwarzer firmly set in their ranks, German quartet Annisokay have just unleashed their fifth album. Aurora is a rousing tempest of the band’s post hardcore/electronic/ metalcore bred sound; an album which in some ways sees no major departure from what has become welcomingly familiar yet offers plenty of fresh twists and new adventures to be maybe the most striking proposition from them yet.
The quartet have not been low key in releasing attention grabbing encounters if some more potential rich than genuinely ground-breaking though most and especially the likes of previous album Arms, rarely left ears short in enjoyment. Aurora has reaped the seeds of that promise to weave tracks which hungrily burrowed into the senses and sparked the imagination with compelling success. Maybe the band has still to unlock the major individuality which teasingly lies within their sound but the new incitement certainly discovers new layers and invention to be enthralled with.
The rhythmic prowess of drummer Nico Vaeen and bassist Norbert Kayo lays a potent canvas for the songs to flourish around; theirs an alignment of constant senses jabbing and courting beats which never quite uncages true viciousness and gnarly basslines that entwine ears and cast a swinging incitement. Opener Like a Parasite epitomise that template, its ear grabbing electronic start soon aligned to predacious rhythms with equally only offer an esurient invitation. Swiftly the snarly tones of Schwarzer are raging within the growing tempest, raw and crabby they dirty the air, his presence a great new trespass within the Annisokay sound. As the clean ones of Christoph Wieczorek join the creative eddy, he at times inspired by his partner’s tetchy breath to vary his equally rousing croon, so his guitar unleashes its own rapacious attack and enterprise. It is a great start to the album, a track which simply made us eager to dive fully into the album.
STFU instantly opens its arm complies, the track less forceful and in the face but equally a potent lure to ears with Wieczorek’s melodic tones wrapping lyrical emotion as all the while Schwarzer and a wind of irascible sounds crowd the shadows. Their regular eruption soaked in choleric breath ignites the calm, internal tempestuousness matching the song’s emotional turbulence. It is a skilled and magnetic fusion of extremes which, as The Tragedy captured the imagination with its oriental hued melodic elegance and again emotively inflamed volatility, entices again. Within an electronic tapestry with orchestral hues, vocals and melodies write an intimate proposal as fearsome shadows which never stray from the band’s music wait to inject their tumult subsequently led by Schwarzer’s feral ire.
The rock ‘n’ roll instincts of Face the Facts quickly made it an intriguing proposal, guitars sharing eager riffs before things become darker and more intense but in turn radiantly fiery while Overload bears an almost synth pop nurtured coaxing before turning its simmer into a more fervent affair. Neither track quite hooked us in as their predecessors yet each left ears certainly contented before the enterprising guile of Bonfire of the Millennials left a matching strong impression and satisfaction in its wake.
The trio were soon eclipsed though by the outstanding The Cocaines Got Your Tongue, the track a web of textures and psychosis woven into one gripping drama. Every riff bullies as rhythms bites, in turn quickly emerging grooves a deep and welcome incursion aligned to confrontational vocals. This though is interrupted by melodic seduction if one with an essence of turmoil; it all together a striking and compelling highlight of the album.
Under Your Tattoos is the band’s new single, a song which deceptively simmers into view and then savages the senses with relish though it too is unafraid to send its attack along melodic and harmonic detours which only add to its success. Again the vocal contrast of Schwarzer and Wieczorek makes for a potent temptation, each song easily embracing and growing around both extremes though so often the pair equally finds common ground.
Another firm favourite within Aurora was The Blame Game, its djent inspired jaggedness and fractious air irresistible over the electronic and melodic fertility which equally had ears gripped and hungry for the following I Saw What You Did. Instantly Wieczorek’s guitar enslaved ears, its wiry dexterity igniting instinctive pleasure and only increasing its pull within the ferocious encounter. Stroppy and invasive, the song took favourite moment honours, the skilled and inventive design to its imposing squall a declaration of the band’s growing and evolving invention.
The album is completed by the trio of Standing Still, Friend or Enemy, and Terminal Velocity; songs which again maybe did not quite get under the skin as others though it was hard to escape being embroiled in their drama and certainly the intensity of the third. Fair to say though they only add effective richness to an album which has grown more compelling by the listen.
Aurora is out now via Arising Empire in digital, CD and vinyl formats, as well as a special limited edition fan box; available @ https://www.impericon.com/de/annisokay.html
Pete RingMaster 07/02/2021
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