Wednesday, December 03, 2014

The New Noise on Anatomy of Habit

Album Review: Anatomy Of Habit – “Ciphers + Axioms”

Anatomy Of HabitCiphers + Axioms(Relapse Records)
Before you sit down to read this review, you’d better get yourself something to eat and maybe an iced cold beverage. I’ll give you a few minutes. Alright, are you ready now? Comfortable? Good. Because Ciphers + Axioms is unlike anything that you’ve probably ever heard before. First of all it is a very thick album, completely filled to the brim with heavy moments of doom and drone and elements of avant-garde that make the experience something of a sort of ritualistic event, perhaps more along the lines of a science experiment. Out of the five band members, there is only who has actually been in other metal acts and that is Will Lindsay (Abigail Williams, Indian, ex-Nachtmystium) who as you can see has a fairly strong repertoire behind him. But Lindsay isn’t lighting up the sky or being forced to call upon the ancient spirits of the Norwegian frost; rather he’s serving as a mere thump for what really seems to collaborate into its own atmosphere. Perhaps there are little tinkerings here and there throughout the two full-bodied tracks, but it’s arguably much different than anything we’ve heard from him before before. Adding to that, Mark Solotroff’s vocal approach also stands out quite heavily on the record, making me think of a cross between Dead Can Dance’s Brendan Perry and possibly your college science professor. And just in the fashion of Dead Can Dance, there’s a great deal of dark atmosphere on the album that takes place whilst Solotroff rattles on about a slew of subjects with an oddly monotone, yet hypnotic tone. I’ve listened to the record about four times already and can’t really tell you what it is exactly that Mr. Solotroff happens to be singing about, but I can assure you that it most certainly has everything to do with “cyphers… and axioms” as he repeats this phrase several thousand times during the disc’s latter cut “Then Window.” Both of the tracks weigh in at about twenty minutes, but that seems to suffice in lieu of the massive onslaught of warm and silent atmospheres that appear in each. Unlike other albums, Cyphers + Axioms isn’t really about the words that emanate from it; rather it’s the feeling that you get from listening to the piece as a whole. It’s about John McEntire’s drumming and Theo Katsaounis’s percussion elements, it’s about Kenny Rasmussen’s bass licks and it’s definitely most about Will Lindsay’s guitar soundscapes and Mark Solotroff’s vocal instruments. Yes, Anatomy Of Habit would have been just as effective as an instrumental act, but Solotroff really brings a unique way of thinking to the band and I think that’s what’s going to stand out on your first listen. There are a lot of bands that mix doom and drone together, but never like this. It sounds like science, to be honest – which never really had a sound until now I suppose; so one could even dub it “science metal” if they wanted to even though the scientific community would probably frown upon it. It’s warm and rustic, with a sound all its own, that I just don’t think could be easily replicated to the same effect. Every once in a while a band comes around that you can’t really classify and Anatomy Of Habit are just that kind of act. When I first heard the record, I said in the most unprofessional of manners, “this sounds pretty cool” and have been trying to figure out how to formulate that opinion in the most professional way possible. Which obviously isn’t this. But all joking aside, Ciphers + Axioms is the kind of metal album that you get for the metalhead who has everything. It’s not something they’ll expect and I think that fans of drone, post, doom and avant-garde among other non-metal related genres will also find something to like here. So yeah, it does sound pretty cool. (Eric May)

Summary: A very thick album,
completely filled to the brim with
heavy moments of doom and
drone and elements of avant-
garde that make the experience
something of a sort of ritualistic