Review Summary: Anachronism fills a niche where dissonance and melody co-exist in perfect harmony
Five years after its solid sophomore Orogeny
, Swiss tech-death metallers Anachronism are on the offensive with their third studio album Meanders
. Developing on previous strengths and incorporating various elements new to its sound, the band has combined a commendable set of tracks into its strongest release to date. While the band opted for an all-guns-blazing approach on Orogeny
is marginally more accessible. That said, listeners not seasoned in this style of dissonant death metal should not expect an easy ride - this is still decidedly heavy material. In comparison to the genre’s well-known ambassadors, Anachronism manages to harbour a distinct sound: less urgent than Sunless, less chaotic than Gorguts and less claustrophobic than Ulcerate, successfully serving up delicious dissonance in a slightly more user-friendly format while not compromising on brutality or technicality.
The musicianship on Meanders
is nothing short of spectacular but the quality of songwriting on offer is what nudges it ahead of the band’s previous work. Compacting an impressive amount of variety into thirty minutes while also managing to create a record so concise and focused is no easy feat but it’s something Anachronism have achieved with apparent ease. While rooted in the frenetic, atonal qualities of Gorguts-inspired death metal, elements of post-metal and psychedelia are intricately woven through the fabric of the record, throwing the listener from apocalyptic worlds to areas with more restraint where listeners can take a quick breather. “Macrocosm” acts as an interstellar journey while the brooding chugs in the introduction of “Prism” provide further stylistic nuance, a brief yet welcome slow-down in tempo before the onslaught begins again. The use of melody is also key in distinguishing Anachronism from its disso-death peers. Applied in an appropriately conservative fashion, it appears almost exclusively in the guitar leads and always steers clear of approaching the territory of melo-death. “Source” impresses in this respect, being plentiful in blast-beats, angular riffs and slick grooves, penetrated by lofty, melodic guitar solos before exiting with a spacious psychedelic outro, proving to be one of the strongest and most diverse tracks on the album. Although bombastic performances are given across the board, specific attribution must go to the vocal abilities of Lisa Voisard. Not only are her confident growls strong enough to make most of the genre originators jealous, tracks like “Dialogues” and the eponymous “Meanders” prove her versatility with the inclusion of higher-pitched, blood-curdling shrieks, adding a touch of spine-chilling atmosphere to the affair.
From all the laudable qualities of Meanders
, its greatest success centres around how the band brings all its nuances together, seamlessly combining them with its gritty, atonal base to produce a diverse and dynamic listening experience that remains true to its death metal foundations. Acting as both a logical progression from previous works and a bold step into unexplored territory, fans can rest assured that Anachronism has retained its position above the standards of the modern death metal cesspit, easily holding its own against the genre’s renown flag-bearers.