Monday, March 13, 2017

review: Black Anvil

Black Anvil (U.S.)
As Was
Relapse Records
January 13th, 2017
Here is a band that has an album with memorable songs, with a professional production in the realm of extreme metal, but for some mysterious reason they have made some people mad at the new album.
Black Anvil is a melodic extreme metal band. They seem to get good coverage and the publications usually never forget to include the band when there is a new album and tour. However, I am not that familiar with them, actually. I wasn’t sure what to expect. I have read something along the lines the members come from hardcore and punk backgrounds, but I don’t know. Anyway, for those new to the band, Black Anvil brings together extreme metal and melody, including some melodic singing. Those that like the idea of melody and extreme metal could get quite a bit of traction with this band. This is their fourth album and they are sounding like experts in their niche. They started in 2007, so they know what they are doing.
It seems like Black Anvil is a case of a band that gets criticized from one side for not being black enough and from the other side for not being melodic enough, but I’m not sure why some people could critique them for those things. For one thing, they are good at combining the two elements. They do it well and they sound good at it. Is it that some older listeners are upset that the band is not acting like shoe salesmen? They went ahead and made some changes, like adding more melody, and now some customers want their money back because the band changed the shoes too much. They did not make exactly the same shoes as before. Is that it? Am I understanding that right?
Here’s the deal. They are very capable and skilled at the extreme component of their sound. The sound quality is professional. They have the headbanging energy. It sounds good. It sounds fun. Plus, they add hooks and melodic singing quite a bit throughout. The album is a winner in terms of melodic extreme metal. Of course, they are not ashamed of the fact that they know how to write melodic bits and they know how to play the guitar, and they are feeling very comfortable mixing everything into the Black Anvil sound: black metal, heavy metal solos, melodic extreme metal, growling and some singing and all that stuff. Their song “Nothing” has a huge heavy metal guitar solo and it could not be any more in your face. The album sounds coherent while still making the songs different from each other. I find no problems here.
I am not able to argue with you about the band’s previous albums and the band members’ history of hardcore bands. Whatever. I’m just listening to this album. In my opinion, this album is a good example of melodic extreme metal done right by an American band. Hear the complete album for yourself and see what your reaction is.
review by MMB

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