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Flesh Of The Stars : Anhilla

Very different from previous releases, Flesh Of The Stars' esoteric experiment really delivers.

Opening with the beat of syncopated percussion and the hum of minor-key chords in the background, Flesh of the Stars' new album is an impressive endeavor, one that's quite different from their previous releases. With calm and minimalist arrangements, 'Anhilla' sounds as if it could be one song; the tracks bleed into one another with seamless continuity, and one of the riffs finds itself repeated across different songs, unconfined to any one particular track.

The chilling vocal melodies and harmonies are one of 'Anhilla''s best features, with lyrics in the vein of the macabre - such as "covered in the black, quartered and hung" - to accompany the album's five songs. Instrument-wise, the riffs are either played in a haunting clean tone, or they buzz in the soft distortion of a heavy, but restrained channel setting. Occasionally, chilling atmospheric leads sometimes add to the arrangements - most noticeably on 'II', the album's highlight. Regardless of the particular approach, the vibe of the band is always a visceral darkness. Simply describing these songs as melancholy would be an understatement; they're not lamentations of depression, but rather the hatreds and fears of mankind captured in music.

Though the album often makes due with minimalist arrangements, guitars and drums playing careful and deliberate odes to tragedy, sound effects are no stranger to 'Anhilla'. The songs 'II' and 'III' bleed into one another in a fitting, but whacky sounding, transition as the ending to 'II' closes on an accelerando. The outro climaxes when the band drops out, leaving the riff to be played by a lone synth. The transition resolves by introducing the only high-tempo song on the album, 'III', as lightly distorted guitars chug along to the beat in a gallop, with calm electric-piano chords playing in the background. While none of the other transitions on the album are quite this attention-grabbing, they all exercise a strong sense of songwriting in their continuity, and the production effects always play their part. The electric piano often returns throughout 'Anhilla', as do other melodic synth sounds and white noise sweeps - all of which are expertly arranged.

Following the steady build from the opening tracks to the climactic middle of the record, in a move of clever album structuring, 'Anhilla' slowly tapers off as its last two tracks and outro descend into finality - with gentle riffs, layered choruses, and heartfelt leads. 'Anhilla' is an esoteric album, but all of Flesh of the Stars's attempts to do something different succeed. Fans of Dark Rock and Doom do not want to miss this.

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Reviewer's rating: 9/10


Tracklist :
1. Prologue
2. I
3. II
4. III
5. IV
6. V
7. Epilogue

Duration : Approx. 46 minutes

Visit the Flesh Of The Stars bandpage.

Reviewed on 2017-04-09 by Alex Drozd
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