Review Summary: Raw thrash metal with very subtle progressive tendencies. The first album from a band that would progress in leaps and bounds over their four-album career.
Anacrusis was criminally overlooked during the brief time that they were around. They started out as a second-tier thrash group with some progressive influences and ended as a ground breaking band in a class all their own. Even though their debut album is sometimes raw and unfocused, it also displays subtle hints about the future of their music.
The first thing to bring up is that this album is very raw sounding, as it was recorded on a low budget and very quickly in 1987. It's not so raw that you can't hear individual instruments, it just doesn't have much punch. Mostly the raw sound comes from the slightly muddy guitar sound, a slightly dull kick drum, and a little too much echo on some of the vocals; although unlike a lot of thrash bands, you can actually hear the bass. Basically, the production is not nearly so horrible that that the album is unlistenable, its just that it is very raw.
Musically on this album Anacrusis plays thrash typical of the era. For a point of reference think of the technicality and melodies of the first few Testament
CD’s coupled with the speed, recklessness, and aggression of early Slayer
. Even though this album is fairly typical of the music of the era, they still did enough differently to make them stand from the crowd. Some of the uniqueness comes from the occasional progressive tendencies that they would end up utilizing much more in future albums. Occasionally there will be a quick break or some off-time drumming or riffs slightly more technical than your average thrash band, as well as a few mellower parts.
The most unique thing about this album and this band is their vocalist, Ken Nardi. His vocals range from a low-register growl all the way to high-pitched screams more associated with black metal (although this is years before black metal became famous). He can go from a thrashy-growl to clean singing to a high-pitched black metal shriek, sometimes all within a few seconds. Therein lies another small issue with this album, Ken’s vocals. As this was their first album he was still developing his vocal style; learning when to use the different vocal sounds and how often. Due to this fact, sometimes the vocals come off as jarring, unsettling and almost schizophrenic as there seems to be no rhyme or reason to when his vocals change. Also his clean singing still had a way to go before he got it completely right on their third album, Manic Impressions
. In reality his vocals are a small issue because they’re still good and very unique; it’s mainly just a comparison to subsequent releases that you notice the improvements that could be made on his early vocals.
Basically this album is for those that miss the raw thrash of the early 80’s, as well as for people that want to see where Anacrusis
started. Anyone that takes the time to listen to this will find an album that might sometimes be a little raw or unfocused, but it also does enough right to make up for youthful ignorance.