Kenn Nardi
Dancing With the Past


4.5
superb

Review

by Trey Spencer STAFF
November 2nd, 2014 | 137 replies


Release Date: 11/04/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Anacrusis' vocalist returns from a 20-year hiatus with a double album that includes everything from the technical thrash of his past to moody, atmospheric songs that are surprisingly full of emotion.

If you’re reading this, chances are you already know how this album came into existence, but just in case…. Kenn Nardi was the vocalist/guitarist for technical thrash band Anacrusis. They were active from 1986 through 1994 and released four influential albums. After they broke up, the individual members faded back into everyday life. Eventually, though, Anacrusis reappeared on the scene. The beginning was minor – Kenn created a website dedicated to the band and made all of their albums available for free download. This was followed by Kenn’s Cruel April project in 2006. Again, it was a minor step forward since it was entirely DIY and was only ever posted on the Anacrusis website. The most significant part of that release was that it was originally intended to include Anacrusis bassist John Emery. To the highly optimistic, this meant that at least two members were talking and still interested in music – this optimism was eventually rewarded.

Unexpectedly, Anacrusis reformed and there was a flurry of activity, which included tours, DVDs, re-recordings and even talks of new music. This talk eventually led to the first new Anacrusis song in over two decades, ‘This Killer in My House’, but as quickly as it started it was over. The band went back on hiatus and there was no mention of the untitled album’s fate – but as quickly as it was over it was reborn. A few weeks after the breakup, Kenn announced that the music would still see the light of day and that he would be handling everything on his own. The end result is the release of over two decades worth of material – the aptly titled Dancing With the Past. Stylistically, there are thrashy tracks that seem to pull directly from Reason and Manic Impressions, there are classically-influenced tracks that pick up where Screams and Whispers left off, there are moody tracks that seem to carry a bit of that New Model Army/The Cure influence, there are traditional progressive metal tracks and even a few relatively straight-forward tracks. This array of styles is held down by the diverse range of Kenn Nardi’s vocals that can still go from low growls to clean singing to piercing screams.

The first two tracks, ‘Unnecessary Evil’ and ‘Fragile’, give the listener a pretty good idea of what extreme spectrums the album is going to cover. ‘Unnecessary Evil’ sounds like the bastard child of The Cure’s Disintegration and Anacrusis’ Screams and Whispers. There are the technical metal and symphonic elements that dominated Screams and Whispers but the tempo, atmosphere, tones and emotional angle all scream Disintegration. The second track, ‘Fragile’, rips the listener right back to the early 90s with one of Kenn’s piercing screams, a breakneck tempo and the kind of calculated riffing that defined Manic Impressions. That’s one of the great things about this album; each song is going to be a surprise. You never know if the next song will be a thrashy Anacrusis-inspired track such as ‘Await the Setting Sun’ or the New Model Army goes prog of ‘Submerged’ or the surprising emotive ambience of ‘A Little Light’.

What's more is that the previously mentioned styles don't even begin to describe the brooding, moody epics that reside near the end of both discs. These songs include ‘The Dark and the Light’ and ‘The Scarlet Letter’ from the first disc and ‘Symbiotic’ and ‘The Runt’ from the second disc. These songs are generally some of the mellowest on the album and excel at using clean guitars, symphonic elements and melody in order to create atmospheres that allow Kenn to deliver some of his most emotive vocals. In case it isn’t apparent, Dancing With the Past is going to require a lot of attention and multiple listens in order for all of the songs and nuances to successfully grab the listener. There are those songs such as ‘Ordinary’ and the title track that are fairly instant, but a majority of the album is going to require much more work and attention than anything Anacrusis ever did. Of course, there are definitely those high-speed moments and more than a little bit of heaviness throughout, it's just that there’s also a ton of subtlety and much more melody than fans might be expecting.

Dancing With the Past finds Kenn Nardi taking the Anacrusis foundation – that solid bass tone, creative double-bass filled percussion and a technical progressive edge – and pushing it through a multitude of different styles. These styles run the gamut from Disintegration-inspired moodiness and atmosphere to aggressive technical thrash that wouldn’t sound out of place on Reason or Manic Impressions. In between these extremes are a collection of songs that, despite two decades in the making, sound remarkably cohesive thanks to that solid Anacrusis foundation and the diverse vocals of Kenn Nardi. Of course, fans shouldn’t expect Kenn Nardi’s first solo album to blindly follow the Anacrusis blueprint, because this is much more than just an Anacrusis release under a different name. In fact, Dancing With the Past would have probably never worked if it had been labeled as an Anacrusis release. It has been a long time coming, but Kenn Nardi has managed to release a double album without any real filler that is ambitious in scope and shouldn’t fail to satisfy old and new fans alike.



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user ratings (78)
Chart.
4
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Willie
Moderator
November 2nd 2014


17088 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Title Track: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gu1xO__VpQQ



Stream the whole album here: http://open.spotify.com/album/4iXBaITLqETMH23wN0pQJA



CD Baby: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/kennnardi2

Digging: The Birthday Massacre - Under Your Spell

emester
November 2nd 2014


8098 Comments


cant wait to check this.

Digging: The Ruins Of Beverast - Exuvia

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
November 2nd 2014


7451 Comments


Major props to Nardi for not giving up.

Willie
Moderator
November 2nd 2014


17088 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah. After listening to the whole thing quite a few times, it makes sense that this would go under his name and not Anacrusis. I'm a huge Anacrusis fan, but despite the similarities, this is much more diverse. Definitely not a straight up technical thrash album.

Nagrarok
November 2nd 2014


8536 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

So I guess this lived up to your expectations Willie? ;)



Need to give it a listen for sure, Anacrusis were a great band with a unique sound.

Willie
Moderator
November 2nd 2014


17088 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Ha ha. My expectations for where this album was 'supposed' to go and where it actually went are two totally different directions. I'm definitely pleasantly surprised, though, and I think the reality turned out better than my imagination.

Spec
November 2nd 2014


34320 Comments


A double with no filler? I don't believe you.

Willie
Moderator
November 2nd 2014


17088 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

'without any real filler' -- all the songs are good, but some are better than others obviously.

Wafflez
November 2nd 2014


433 Comments


Holy shit this will be awesome

TheCrocodile
November 2nd 2014


2586 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This or Screams and Whispers? I'll still get it but I'm just curious.

Friday13th
November 2nd 2014


5732 Comments


omigersh I forgot this was on the horizon. Sounds amazing! I need to jam ASAP.

Asdfp277
November 2nd 2014


14019 Comments


"The significant portion is that it was originally intended to include Anacrusis bassist John Emery."
-'portion'? sorry maybe it's a typo or maybe my english is failing me again but i do not understand this.

"What's more is that the previously mentioned styles don't even begin to describe the brooding, moody epics that reside near the end of both discs."
-maybe its my english again but at first i thought you only referred to the ending of the second album, maybe sayin "reside near the end of each disc" would be clearer xD

also, this sounds amazing, but i haven't heard a single anacrusis album so idk. if i wanted to listen to their discography, where should i start???

TheCrocodile
November 2nd 2014


2586 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Scrolling through your ratings, I'd start with Screams and Whispers, but yeah I don't think you exactly heard anything even remotely similar, so give it time, it might be pretty different than what you're used to...

TheCrocodile
November 2nd 2014


2586 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Plus, all their songs are free on their website so you should be all set!

Friday13th
November 2nd 2014


5732 Comments


yeah Screams and Whispers rules

Asdfp277
November 2nd 2014


14019 Comments


that's their lastest tho :0
ok, i'll go from Screams and Whispers backwards, decided omg

TheCrocodile
November 2nd 2014


2586 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah that's pretty much what you should imo, but yeah if you don't like it at first give it a bit of time, there's lot of stuff going on especially in their last 2 records.

Willie
Moderator
November 2nd 2014


17088 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

--This or Screams and Whispers? I'll still get it but I'm just curious.--



Personally, I think I'll be listening to this over Screams and Whispers. Part of that has to do with this being newer, but also it's just really good. If I want some of the Anacrusis technical thrash I usually go with Manic Impressions or the re-recorded version of Reason.



--'portion'? sorry maybe it's a typo or maybe my english is failing me again but i do not understand this.--



Portion = part ... the significant part of the Cruel April release was that it showed that the band members were still talking and interested in music. That does sound better...



--maybe its my english again but at first i thought you only referred to the ending of the second album, maybe sayin "reside near the end of each disc" would be clearer xD--



'Each' and 'both' mean exactly the same thing.



--also, this sounds amazing, but i haven't heard a single anacrusis album so idk. if i wanted to listen to their discography, where should i start???--



I would start with Screams and Whispers and work backwards. The albums are all available for free here (also go with the original version of Manic Impressions not the remaster):



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

tempest--
November 2nd 2014


20026 Comments


Cool review Willie. Just two small errors;
"the album is going to require much more work and attention than anything Anacrusis ever did"
and you're missing an N from Kenn on the second last line.

Being a double album, I'm hesitant that this will keep my attention throughout the duration, but that says more about me than the music, haha.
I'll be looking forward to hearing this.

Pestiferous
November 2nd 2014


1364 Comments


oh my fuck im buying this CD so hard you said this tuesday? the 4th? ohhohoho if my local record store doesnt
get it in i will SHIT




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