As Was

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Band Name Black Anvil
Album Name As Was
Type Album
Released date 13 January 2017
Music StyleThrash Black
Members owning this album4

Tracklist

1.
 On Forgotten Ways
 08:40
2.
 May Her Wrath Be Just
 04:41
3.
 As Was
 07:11
4.
 Nothing
 07:00
5.
 As an Elder Learned Anew
 07:05
6.
 Two Keys: Here's the Lock
 09:40
7.
 The Way of All Flesh
 02:14
8.
 Ultra
 07:20

Total playing time: 53:51


Review @ hack

31 March 2017

...leans more towards the black metal angle...

During the nineties, metal music declined in the states with the rise of the grunge genre. In the two thousands, Scandinavian metal was made available overseas by labels like Century Media and Nuclear Blast, along with the Headbanger's Ball on MTV. Subsequently a lot of metal bands sprung up across the Atlantic with foreign influences. Black Anvil's twenty ten release, Triumvirate rocked out pretty good, with a mix of ominous thrashing and Norwegian black metal influences. Then their twenty fourteen offering, Hail Death wasn't as spectacular with the thrash instrumentation, capitalizing more on a Swedish black metal persuasion. Since then they've had a lineup change at the rhythm guitar spot. Information about the band is scarce online and even in the booklet of As Was. The booklet mostly provides the lyrics and occult styled artwork, which was done by Metastazis of Paris. Who has created album art for many black metal bands around the world.

The first song, On Forgotten Ways, commences with a mysterious high note guitar melody, which is backed up by thick instrumentation. The texture gets coarser and the crazed grim vocals join in. "The beast writhes in agony." "Beside me, within me, part of me." The instrumentation becomes more invigorated and even darker. Angelic back up singing occurs within the interludes, but is often met with furious black metal reprisals. This song is played at an upbeat tempo and with a troublesome atmosphere. From what meager amount of information is available online, it looks like the drummer and bassist are the chief vocalists in these arrangements. But there is no telling who is who. One shouts and screams with a demonic throat force of utterance. Tis time around, the second vocalist sings clear, with an angelic chime like Dimmu Borgir. The two vocal polarities add some balance to the compositions, like the old evil versus good plot. The back up vocals come up quite frequently, to pitch in to the changing atmospheres.

Their original guitarist, Gary Bennett, left the band and went back to the underground hardcore scene where he came from. So Jeremy Sosville moved from the rhythm to the lead position. Travis Bacon joined the band as the new rhythm guitarist, he was recruited from the underground hardcore scene. The lead guitarist hits some high notes melodically, with patience in the more intense moments, which come and go. The rhythm guitarist seems to be almost constantly carrying the workload of the instrumentation. They do display some thrash riffs, but they mostly strum and pick tremolo licks in a black metal context. The title track, As Was, starts with slow disjointed guitar strumming. The powerful bass lines progress with some brief drum rolls. Then the atmosphere shifts to a slower tempo, with the angelic vocals. In turn they are alternated by the grim vocals. "And if you trust me you will find...and if you trust me you will find!" About halfway in, the music resumes the same pattern that it began with. The angelic voice sings peacefully. "As Was our day, as is our night aflame." Then some high note guitar riffs play along, alternating with doomy bass lines. The lyrics are vague, but they seem to involve archaic occult beliefs.

Song number five, Nothing, emerges with high note power chords and a rebellious posture. The ambiance gets dark and twisted, sounding sort of like Trelldom. The grim vocals scream out with intensity. "Fuck what you've been told, you're not welcome here!" "Forgotten ghost inferior, dispelled as once foretold!" Then about halfway in, the tempo slows way down, as the angelic clean voice has a few things to say. The guitar music becomes more stagy with some high note licks, played at a moderate tempo. Bassist Paul Delaney has been with the band since two thousand seven and has performed on all four of their albums. He has been active with Deathcycle from two thousand five up to their last release in two thousand nine. He usually just plays a supporting role to the guitar music, but gives it enough active pull. Occasionally he plays bolder bass lines and sometimes plucks out chunky rhythms to balance the high note guitar melodies.

Drummer Raeph Glicken had played for the split up hardcore band, Kill Your Idols, like most of the original band members had. Outside of that he keeps below the radar. He goes with the flow of the intensity and plays softly or harder depending on the composition. There are some shuffling beat flurries and chaotic drum pounding that coincides to the musical schemes. His role is important and he adds a lot of rhythmic depth to these structures. The last track, Ultra, starts with the slightly warped ambiance of mysterious keyboard music. Hard drum beats come in, accompanied by the modestly performing stringed instruments. The rhythm transforms into an accessible groove, then a melodic thrash riff juts in. The grim vocals cross the threshold, "this isn't me, this is beyond our wildest dreams." The lead guitar hits catchy high note riffs, the bass groove penetrates along with the angelic clear vocals. "For me he is the light uphold thee." "Guide me." The accessible instrumentation blurs the boundaries of melodic death, but the bizarre atmosphere keeps it within black metal territory.

This band is keeping a relatively low profile, but maybe this adds an element of mystique. On their official website, As Was is touted as a modern black metal album. The lyrical theme of this release deals with reviving the forgotten ways of antiquated black magic. With this new rhythm guitarist, his presence can be distinctively discerned. Which was not the case on their previous album. In the past they had two noticeable vocalists, one was grim and evil, the other was grim and comical. This time they have a grim and evil personality, as well as a clear and angelic character in the second vocalist. It leans more towards the black metal angle as advertised. They alternate from slow reveries to a darker medium tempo. Sometimes there are warped time changes like Trelldom or Gehenna. Occasionally there is some shredding, but not too often. They don't thrash nearly as much as they had in the past. They were a lot better with their original thrash black approach, because their black metal approximation doesn't compare to the skill of the Norwegian bands. It rocked out okay, yet a bit disappointing. But then again, it's probably the weakest installment in their discography so far.

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