Anata
The Conductor's Departure


4.0
excellent

Review

by Tyler Munro EMERITUS
August 7th, 2006 | 92 replies | 19,014 views


Release Date: 2006 | Tracklist


Innovation is a term often tossed around at will in the music world. Often times, progression and innovation are terms being heralded by bands who all, ironically enough, sound exactly the same. Technicality, much like the idea of innovation, has also seemingly run its course towards inertia. All the progressive and technical metal bands these days seem to be simply emulating another bands style, altering it ever so slightly, and calling it their own. Such is the case with the Dream Theater clones, or the Necrophagist knock-offs. Anata, however, is not one of these bands.

Anata
  • Fredrik Schälin - Vocals, Guitar
  • Andreas Allenmark - Guitar, Backing Vocals
  • Henrik Drake - Bass
  • Conny Pettersson - Drums

Anata can be labelled as both melodic and technical death metal, though on this, their latest release, the band has toned the technicality down a notch. The melodic aspects of the album are vastly superior than one would expect. They don't simply toss in a few harmonised riffs (see: Gothenburg Death Metal), but rather they go the extra mile. The guitars are often focusing on counterpoints, so at times it will sound as if one intricate riff is being played with two guitars. Harmonically speaking, the band goes the atonal route, but as the instruments mesh together, they come out sounding brilliant.

Nearly every aspect of the album has left me astonished. By Death Metal standards, the album is fairly mid-tempo, though at times you'll find faster, blastbeat passages. While on the issue, I have to say that while no instrument rises higher than the other, the drums were the first thing I noticed. Conny Pettersson is quite frankly, a machine. His drumming is both varied and precise. His fills slide across all fours, from the toms to the snare to all of his cymbals in an instant, only to bring him back to a steady, constant beat. His use of double kick is original, he never holds one steady double kick pattern long enough to bore the listener. The time I realized just how amazing the drums were was at the end of the Children's Laughter interlude. It's only ten seconds, but when I heard this, my jaw had to be pried off the ground. The easiest way to describe the drums would be to throw the variety of Neal Peart (minus the xylophone and windchimes) into a death oriented setting. When they're not focusing on atonal harmonics and counterpoints, the guitar pairing of Fredrik Schälin and Andreas Allenmark vary between frenetic riffing and an almost thrash-like sound, but don't be fooled, this is most definitely death metal. Fredrik Schälin not only handles guitar duty, but he's also the one barking out the vocals, so it would be interesting to see if he handles himself live as well as fellow tech-deather Muhammed Suicmez. The bass is also top-notch, and due to the outstanding production, it's perfectly audible. Valle Adzic did an outstanding job producing the album, and I feel it's some of the best production you could hope for with a technically inclined death metal album. Every instrument is crystal clear, audible, yet they all have their time to shine.

So many parts standout on this album, whether it be the almost Flight of the Bumblebee like passage at the start of Better Grieved Than Fooled, the moody and dark interlude Children's Laughter, the unbelievably awesome riffing and soloing 6 minutes into the title track which leads to a wonderful drum solo, or the totally confusing Disobedience Pays, you can count on being impressed. The closest comparison I would make is Spawn of Possession, though I actually feel these guys do it better.

With their latest, Anata have challenged all the pre-conceived notions of what a technically inclined death metal album should consist of. By adding just the right touch of atonal dissonance, compositional dexterity, tasteful technicality and plenty of headbanging, these Swedes have set themselves apart from the pack, putting them in a league of their own. The Conductor's Departure is quite easily one of the strongest Death Metal albums released all year. The album is layered, almost labyrinthine in scale, and so it may take a few listens to sink in, though I assure you it's worth the effort. Once this album hit me, let me tell you, it hit me.

It's something new, and a lot of people won't like that, but to those who do, you will be impressed. Anata has managed to use their musical knowledge to create something new, something outstanding.



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user ratings (252)
Chart.
4
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Tyler
Emeritus
August 7th 2006



7928 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The album art doesn't seem to want to add. That sucks.

I know, people think 5/5s are handed out too easily, but trust me, I tried to find fault in this album, but it was just too worthy of the perfect score. Yeah, some of the songs are long, but they never drag on. It's a daunting album, at 53 minutes (which for tech-death is pretty long), but it's totally worth it.

EDIT: Nevermind, the album art showed up.This Message Edited On 08.07.06

Tyr
August 7th 2006



2 Comments


Good review! I haven't heard of these guys before, but now I will need to look them up.

Channing
August 7th 2006



497 Comments


Nice work.

Fractal_Mortality
August 8th 2006



9 Comments


Brilliant Record

Fistertain
August 10th 2006



19 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

you dunounce Necrophagist clones yet praise this band in the same breath when it is pretty clear that they are pretty much that. Bar a more liberal use of jazz/whole-tone leanings. Sure this album is just fine, maybe even quite good, but a perfect score is completely unwarranted.

Tyler
Emeritus
August 10th 2006



7928 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Considering these guys formed a year later than Necrophagist, and had an album released first, you can't say they're Necrophagist clones. That, and they sound nothing alike.

A perfect score is totally warranted.

Sehguh3
August 12th 2006



1 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good Review!
I only heard a few from this album, but the whole thing seems to sound pretty great. i would say fresh air... sounds like nothing else, i agree. I'll continue in looking for these guys...

Tyler
Emeritus
September 12th 2006



7928 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Better Grieved Than Fooled is still one of the best Death Metal songs I've ever heard.

bobohed
October 10th 2006



20 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great album, I own all three but I find this their best.

Necrophagist clone? I can't find that claim warranted, and I think it insulting to label them as such.

And yes, Better Grieved than Fooled is awesome. I really love it when they keep the vocals to a minimal and just jam the fuck out. Excellent band.

Anglachel
December 7th 2006



152 Comments


Nice review man. My first impression of the album is a 4, only recently unzipped it from the upload :p

Better Grieved Than Fooled is awesome

Tyler
Emeritus
February 9th 2007



7928 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Okay this rating was really inflated. Lowered it. Still think it's a great album though.

Confessed2005
May 26th 2007



3314 Comments


This sounds like something I should look into.

Is this album a good place to start?

Willie
Moderator
September 21st 2007



15875 Comments


I found this on iTunes "recommended for you" thing, read the review here, and downloaded it... it is awesome (between iTunes and this site I'm going to be broke!)

Digging: Emperor - In The Nightside Eclipse - 20th Year Anniversary

foreverendeared
November 2nd 2007



14678 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

that initial riff on Better Grieved than Fooled stays in my head for days after i listen to it. it fu*king rules

masscows
December 26th 2007



2236 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Just ordered this. I've heard 3 songs off of it and it kind of reminded me of Immolation in that they focus on musical counterpoints and guitar interplay to create odd harmonies, only Anata is more melodic. I'm definitely looking forward to hearing the whole thing.

AngelPhoenix
February 18th 2008



2764 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Man cocaine, you know good death metal when you hear it, between this and Gorod's Leading Vision I'm set for death metal till...who knows. This is so good. A Few moments that seem chaotic just for chaos' sake, but on the whole, impressive is the right word for this. Downward Spiral, Better Grieved, Disobedience Pays, and the title track are all amazing songs and the rest are pretty damn good too. This is close to a 4.5, but I find myself comparing it to Leading Vision a lot (which I gave a 4.5), and that's a bit better. This Message Edited On 02.18.08

foreverendeared
June 6th 2008



14678 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this album rules. Better Grieved than Fooled is seriously one of the coolest death metal songs out there

Thor
June 21st 2008



10176 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Hell yeah it is. The main riff/groove at the start of that song is so amazing.

masscows
June 21st 2008



2236 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

good album is good

TeamExcelcior
June 28th 2008



246 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Really good review, man, you did this album justice. I don't see the comparison to Spawn of Possession but I do agree that Anata is quite a bit better. The melody break halfway through "Downward Spiral into Madness" is one of the best melodic sections ever written in my opinion. Again, righteous review!



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