Album Reviews

Anacrusis – Manic Impressions & Screams and Whispers Review

Metal Blade Records

Release: 15 November 2019

 

Lineup:

Kenn Nardi – Vocals, Guitars
Kevin Heidbreder – Guitars
John Emery – Bass
Mike Owen – Drums, Backing Vocals

 

Tracklist: Manic Impressions

1. Paint a Picture
2. I Love the World (New Model Army cover)
3. Something Real
4. Dream Again
5. Explained Away
6. Still Black
7. What You Became
8. Our Reunion
9. Idle Hours
10. Far too Long
11. Tools of Separation (demo) (bonus)
12. Paint a Picture (demo) (bonus)
13. (Grey is) Still Black (demo) (bonus)
14. Far too Long (demo) (bonus)

 

Tracklist: Screams and Whispers

1. Sound the Alarm
2. Sense of Will
3. Too Many Prophets
4. Release
5. Division
6. Tools of Separation
7. Grateful
8. A Screaming Breath
9. My Soul’s Affliction
10. Driven
11. Brotherhood?
12. Release (remix)
13. Sound the Alarm (demo) (bonus)
14. Forsaken (demo) (bonus)
15. Brotherhood? (demo) (bonus)

 

Continuing my exploration of the band Anacrusis, I move on to the last two albums in their catalog, and the final two Metal Blade Reissues. The first two albums showed a band searching for their sound. Both are excellent albums but are still feeling their way around this new mix of Extreme and Progressive. The final two see the band solidifying its sound and finding its path to finality.

First up is Manic Impressions. It seems to be a representative title for the album as they find themselves teetering between this hyper-aggressive attack with a more ethereal approach. Ken Nardi still has that distinctive scream and still delves into the heavier vocal style, but is also leaning more towards a cleaner voice, reminiscent of Mike Muir on the How Will I Laugh album. Musically there are still chunky riffs and psychotic licks, but some of the songs are borrowing somewhat from the late 80’s early 90’s Alternative sound, without betraying the Heavy Metal roots. Still owing a debt to Voivod at times, they’re still very much a band with their own sound. Standouts for this one is “Still Black,” “Paint A Picture,” and “Idle Hours” (which owes a healthy debt to Annihilator for that opening lick.)

With 1993’s final album, Screams, and Whispers, Anacrusis finally finds that perfect sound they’ve been looking for. Fully formed, this album shows the ultimate Anacrusis album. Without a doubt my favorite of the four albums. No longer are they trying to figure out how to sufficiently combine Thrash Metal with Progressive Rock with swirls of Alternative Rock, they have embraced their destiny and recorded the strongest album of their career. The songs are better, the performances are tighter, and Anacrusis takes hold of the reigns as one of the earliest of the heavy bands to embrace a new path like other leaders in the pack as Voivod and Watchtower. For me, songs like “Sense of Will,” “Tools of Separation,” and “A Screaming Breath” are road maps that lead to bands that came later like Control Denied, Confessor, and Atheist.

I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Anacrusis. This is exactly why I am thankful for labels reissuing stuff that either got overlooked or just never made as big an impact as those bands whose albums are easily found about anywhere. Though they may never have achieved the recognition and notoriety as some of their peers did, it is very clear that Anacrusis was one of the leading bands in the burgeoning Progressive Metal formation back then. Without their bravery and experimentation, there’s no telling how barren the Metal world would be right now.

 

Written by: Chris Martin

Ratings:

8/10 – Manic Impressions

10/10 – Screams and Whispers

 

 

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