"some music was meant to stay underground..."

70000 Tons of Metal - The World's Biggest Heavy Metal Cruise

Bokor - "Anomia 1" (CD)

Bokor - "Anomia 1" CD cover image

"Anomia 1" track listing:

1. Crawl - The Sermons And Dreams Of John Duncan Thunstall
2. Best Trip
3. The Island Of St: Menee (Beach Of The Living Dead)
4. Convert Into
5. Migrating
6. Avert Your Eyes

Reviewed by on April 18, 2009

"My main gripe, honestly, was that after six songs in 44 minutes, I still wanted more — and that's not a bad problem to have."

My first thought upon hearing "Anomia 1" was that "Bokor" must be Swedish for "Mastodon." I say that because this album has that same sense of wild experimentation and musical mastery that fueled Mastodon's "Blood Mountain" and "Crack The Skye." This is music that challenges your sensibilities while providing neck-breaking heaviness.

The opening track, "Crawl - The Sermons And Dreams Of John Duncan Thunstall," begins with heavy guitars by Fredrik "Lillis" Johansson and Thomas Eriksson that slowly become more melodic, but never completely lose their crushing groove. Lars Carlberg's vocals on this track are a thing of beauty. He's got one of the better voices I've heard in metal in a long time, capable of screaming quite well, but also doing the melodic thing really well. On "Crawl," he alternates between the two, literally in the same breath.

One thing that impressed me the most about listening to the album was the combination of styles the band brought to the table. There's a little death metal in the vocals now and then, mixed with a little thrash in the guitars. Then, there are the influences flung far afield of metal. I scoffed a bit when I read "country" as one of the music artforms admired by the band on its web site. Then, I heard the opening few minutes of "Migrating," with its shuffling beat and Eriksson's lead guitar sounding almost like a steel guitar. To be sure, the song never takes a complete trip to Nashville, but it was fun to think about a metal band from Sweden being influenced by those sounds. It's also fun to hear how that sound turns into bone crushing metal midway through, without missing a beat.

I also admire this band for taking full advantage of its quiet moments. On "Best Trip," for example, as the guitars play a splendidly simple clean-tone riff, you can hear Rickard Larsson's more complex bass part underneath as a great counterpoint.

I don't really have many negative things to say about the album, except that maybe the 14-and-a-half-minute "Migrating" could've been tightened up a bit. My main gripe, honestly, was that after six songs in 44 minutes, I still wanted more — and that's not a bad problem to have.

If you're looking for metal that successfully incorporates a wide variety of styles and sounds, Bokor's "Anomia 1" is the album for you.

Highs: Superb playing and singing throughout, but "Crawl" and "Best Trip" stand out.

Lows: "Migrating" could've been tightened up a bit.

Bottom line: A superb debut disc that blends sounds and styles from metal and other genres.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)