Anacrusis
Manic Impressions


5.0
classic

Review

by Trey Spencer STAFF
September 14th, 2007 | 392 replies | 24,210 views


Release Date: 1991 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Anacrusis make their defining album. Combining thrash with prog to great effect. Featuring some excellent drumming by Chad Smith.

By the early 90’s there were a lot of thrash bands that had the same sound and the same premise behind their lyrics, because, as with every genre, it had eventually become saturated with imitators; Anacrusis were not one of those immitarors. Anacrusis were a thrash band that had a very unique edge due to their multi-faceted vocalist, a string of talented drummers, technical playing, progressive influences and thoughtful lyrics, but their first two albums definitely had their flaws. All those flaws were finally worked out on their third offering, Manic Impressions, when everything finally fell into place for them musically. This is the album where Anacrusis completely and totally captured the sound, the feelings, and the technicality they only hinted at on previous releases.

The most noticeable difference is in the production of the album. Past albums’ productions always left a little bit to be desired, but that was finally fixed here. Manic Impressions has a very cold, mechanical sound, with the guitars and bass sounding razor sharp and very clear. The drums have also picked up a sharper and less in your face sound. This new approach allows every note and sound to be heard. It’s a good thing too, because Anacrusis have a lot going on within most of their songs. Another vast improvement worth noting is in the vocals of Ken Nardi. His vocals have finally been formed into the perfect sound and use the band was looking for. Ken uses a wide range of vocal styles within the songs, and in the past it sometimes seemed like the vocal changes were coming without his complete control, but that is not the case anymore.

Musically the band has progressed far beyond anything they’ve ever done before. The music seems cold, precise, and calculated. Every note, every cymbal crash, every pluck of a string seems to be calculated and specifically placed there. The music is still riffy and thrashy for the most part, but they’ve added a lot more technicality to the overall form of those riffs and notes. The bass has also taken a more lead role, sometimes seeming to be the lead instrument with the guitars following behind it, and it is very clear in the mix. Even when it is not the lead instrument though, the bass doesn’t simply follow the guitars; it is always playing something interesting and inventive seeming to bounce in and out of the riffs and sounds. Also, Ken’s vocals have not mellowed one bit. He still goes from the low thrashy growl to clean singing (not in a metalcore kind of way, remember this is 1991), and he still makes full use of the black metal style high-pitched shrieks. The big difference is, as stated above, he seems more in control of his style, and more thoughtful about what style to use where. Also, his lyrics have completely evolved from the typical thrash topics of the first album to the critical, almost self-analytical lyrics we find now. They’re introspective, thoughtful, and almost philosophical at times. The biggest change, though, is that after the last album Anacrusis changed drummers, with the new drummer being Chad Smith. His impact is immediately known as his drum patterns, technique, and inventive use of fills is beyond what most drummers could only dream of (listen to “Idle Hours” for an example). With that said, he still remains within the thrash realm of drumming, not trying to throw jazz or funk or anything like that into the mix; which is a good thing, not a bad thing for this album.

Understandably, a large improvement from one album to the next still does not mean that the album is a classic in the grand scheme of things, but this one really is. The songwriting itself is great, with all the riffs being memorable despite how technical they may become at times. Also, the choruses aren’t just there as an afterthought, they are catchy and well written, but without becoming poppy. In fact, some of the more technical parts of the album come when the chorus to a song is being played, creating a counter-point between the memorable chorus and the more technical music. Each song is also suitably different enough from another one to make the album not feel as if it’s dragging on in some sort of forced feeling of deja vu. When listening to any song it is easy to tell that a lot of thought went in to every detail and it shows, and with enough time given to the album it begins to become easier to follow and then one day the realization that this truly is a classic album will hit you, but be warned, it takes time.

Overall, if there is an Anacrusis album I’d recommend for the uninitiated it would be this one or their final one called Scream and Whispers (with Screams and Whispers being slightly more accessible). One of the only problems I could see someone having with this album, is that it does sound a little dated at times due to their prominent thrash roots, but if you actually like thrash then it shouldn’t make a difference because it really is a classic in the genre. Fortunately, I can recommend this album (all their albums, actually) to anyone that is into heavy music and simply willing to take the time to download the songs, and try something new. What I mean is that their entire catalog is out of print, so the band were cool enough to make all their albums available for free high quality download on their official website. There nothing to sign, nowhere you have to input an e-mail, you just download their songs.

I don’t usually do song recommendations, but as these are available for download legally, I’ll make a few. Lastly, it mentions you need one of two specific MP3 players to play the songs; it’s not true, any will work.

Recommended Songs:
  • Still Black
  • Our Reunion
  • Dream Again




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user ratings (176)
Chart.
4.2
excellent
other reviews of this album
Drew Tyler (4.5)
An extremely good release, from a talented but often overlooked band....


Comments:Add a Comment 
Willie
Moderator
September 14th 2007



15909 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

The direct link to the page where their albums can be played or downloaded for free
is:

http://anacrusis.us/media%20files/MP3/Albums/Albums.html

Zoo
September 14th 2007



3759 Comments


Not crazy about their overall sound. Nice review though.

Willie
Moderator
September 14th 2007



15909 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

You may like "Screams and Whispers" then if it's just the sound you have an issue with... that album has a "warmer" (for lack of a better term) and "fuller" sound then this one... but I like this production better actually.

Zoo
September 14th 2007



3759 Comments


Yeah. I just listened to some of the songs from this album. I'll listen to the other one though.

descendents1
September 14th 2007



702 Comments


omg 5/5 neg neg neg
j to the k
so do you recommend this as being a suitable album if i wanted to get into thrash? i also feel like at best you made this 4/5 justifiable. your 2nd+3rd paragraphs were really great and focused on improvements, but didn't really lead me to believe that they mastered their previous work and also demonstrated a complete ascension to 5/5 quality material. the fact that it may be slightly inaccessible is also a deterrent. great review though man.

Zoo
September 14th 2007



3759 Comments


[quote=descendents1]so do you recommend this as being a suitable album if i wanted to get into thrash?[/quote]

This isn't any type of thrash I've heard before, so no. Personally, I would recommend you start off with Testament.

Willie
Moderator
September 14th 2007



15909 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Ha ha, yeah... I made it 5 out of 5, but if you look at my past reviews, I don't just throw scores around like they're nothing cause I do understand that doing so just lowers credibility.

While trying to make sure I was totally justifying a 5, I was also trying to keep this review shorter, because the last few have gone a little long.... still finding the middle ground.

I would go with ZooYorker6 on this and say go get the last Testament album, or their second one for the normal thrash style and sound.

Zoo
September 14th 2007



3759 Comments


Driven, Too Many Prophets, and A screaming Breath were pretty decent. They were much easier to listen to than the songs from this album. There's still something I can't get used to about them, though. I'll download "Screams and Whispers" anyway. It may grow on me.

Willie
Moderator
September 14th 2007



15909 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

You're right, there is definitely something quirky about this band, and their songs do take time to grow on you. I think you'll get into "Screams and Whispers" in time, and maybe even try this one again down the road ;)

your 2nd+3rd paragraphs were really great and focused on improvements, but didn't really lead me to believe that they mastered their previous work and also demonstrated a complete ascension to 5/5 quality material.
At the risk of making another review longer then I wanted to, I added the fourth paragraph to kind of flesh things out a little bit.

descendents1
September 15th 2007



702 Comments


i like the way you cleaned things up. you demonstrate 4.5 for sure, and do a pretty good job of justifying a 5

Willie
Moderator
September 15th 2007



15909 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Thanks... I struggled a bit trying to decide how I wanted to tie it all together in another paragraph, but without getting overly long again. Did you check them out at all?

Edit: I just checked your reviews, and maybe this won't be your thing ;)This Message Edited On 09.15.07

username345
June 19th 2008



594 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This is pretty awesome.

They've moved their site now so the above link won't work by the way.

Willie
Moderator
June 19th 2008



15909 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

They've moved their site now so the above link won't work by the way.

Hey thanks for the heads up. I changed the link to the new location on my initial comment and I'll put it here as well. Anyone into technical thrash should download these (they're free now), but especially this one and "Screams and Whispers".
http://anacrusis.us/media%20files/MP3/Albums/Albums.html


username345
June 19th 2008



594 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I'm listening to Screams and Whispers now, I prefer it a bit. They're both great though.

Willie
Moderator
June 19th 2008



15909 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Had you heard of them before or did you decide to find them after seeing them here somewhere?

username345
June 19th 2008



594 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Found them through your 'Get Back Together, Assholes!' list =PThis Message Edited On 06.19.08

Wizard
November 1st 2009



19333 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This album is great so far. The vocal melodies during the chorus of "I Love The World" gave me goosebumps.

Digging: YOB - Clearing The Path To Ascend

fireaboveicebelow
November 1st 2009



6837 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yay wiz has this

Wizard
November 1st 2009



19333 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

And it's one of the best thrash albums I've ever heard.

Willie
Moderator
November 1st 2009



15909 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Awesome. This is probably my favorite thrash album (or at least thrash-influenced album). Was this your first exposure to these guys?



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