Review Summary: Melbourne metal-heads Anarion deliver a debut that reeks of potential, yet fails to interest.
It’s one thing to be technically competent; it’s another to use this technical proficiency to produce something that could be considered original or even remotely fascinating. It’s this fundamental principle that seems to escape Melbourne heavy-metal act Anarion, as the basic ideology of their debut Unbroken
seems to be paying constant homage to bands such as Iron Maiden, while still proving to the world that they actually know how to play. And this is true – this band really do
know how to play their respective instruments. It’s just a shame this skill is wasted on boring, uninspired compositions which do little to deviate from what other bands do much better already.
Drummer Luke Burnham spends the entirety of the album providing great support and an even greater backbone with his relentless double-bass drum and impressive fills. The guitars of Mecchi and Griffith are technically remarkable and played with the kind of confidence you’d expect from an act you’ve actually heard of, while the bass of Joe Frisina certainly doesn’t lag far behind at all. As a group, Anarion play extremely well – which begs the question of how this impeccably produced record could possibly amount to nothing more than uneventful" The answer lies within the songs themselves, and the unoriginal method by which they’re composed.
Album opener New Eyes, Old Lies
seems to be the peak of the mountain with which this album can analogically be referred to, as it’s frankly impressive and easily the best song on the album. With driving riffs - and several inspiring solos – it sets the pace for an experience filled with excitement and ingenuity. Unfortunately, this exhilaration is short-lived and only acts as a seemingly impossible yardstick with which the remaining songs are failingly compared. Acoustic ballad Live in Me
proves to be an unassuming, emotionless epic which is too dull and repetitive over it’s seven minute duration to warrant a second listen, while Conflicting Self
works on a similar vain but keeps it shorter and catchier – much to it’s betterment.
Lyrically, lead singer Riccardo Mecchi proves to be adequate yet frequently uninspiring. Conceptually, the songs range from “consuming hate” to the typical anti-Bush sentiment, which does little to help Anarion stand out from most of its contemporaries. Album closer Another Level
stands as one of the more cringe-worthy moments lyrically speaking:
“You! You think you’re better than everyone
You! You think you’re too good for us
I! Will absolutely destroy you
We! Are better off now without you
Things! Couldn’t be better than this
You! Don’t realize what you’ve left behind”
Greed of Man
stands as the catchiest track on the album, with a chorus that will incessantly flutter around any listener’s head if they aren’t careful, and a frantic mid-section that features a good amount of solos and crushing percussion. Forgettable tracks Broken Truths
sound too similar by contrast, and unfortunately pale under comparison, while short instrumental Buried
deserves a longer track-time, yet unfortunately acts as nothing more than a fleeting introduction to the closing song. Bonus track Over the Wall
gives no clue to it’s inclusion, as it stands as the simplest composition on the album and seems rather generic.
Anarion are a band of remarkable technical ability, yet unfortunately Unbroken
proves conceptually and musically dull compared to albums recorded as far as twenty years ago. This is a shame, as every member seems comfortable in their respective positions, and they are noted for being exceptional live – something which I have no trouble supposing. It seems it will have to wait until Anarion’s sophomore effort before a unique approach to the heavy-metal genre can hopefully be realized. Otherwise, it’s the Melbourne pub circuit destined for them.