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Anima - "Enter The Killzone" (CD)

Anima - "Enter The Killzone" CD cover image

"Enter The Killzone" track listing:

1. Intro (0:50)
2. Incarceration (3:20)
3. Loner's Reflection (3:44)
4. Cu(n)t & Twist (3:16)
5. The Man Eater (4:04)
6. Carnage Provoked (2:54)
7. Black Night (2:17)
8. The Omnipotent Torture King (2:54)
9. Welcome To Our Killzone (4:10)
10. Necromantica (3:10)
11. I Am Sick I Want To Kill (4:02)
12. XXXIII (6:03)

Reviewed by on March 8, 2010

"Fans of the band will find another album on par with 'The Daily Grind,' but everybody else will hardly bat an eye in Anima’s direction."

Another day, another deathcore album; this time around, it’s “Enter The Killzone,” the third album from Anima. People can complain about the genre all they want, but deathcore is here to stay for the time being. What a lot of bands have been doing recently is incorporating more death metal influences to warp their sound to appeal to an audience that shuns the deathcore label. Anima is the next one in line to follow this trend, though it isn’t as obviously done as bands like Job For A Cowboy and Annotations of an Autopsy. The chugging riffs and mediocre breakdowns have been toned down, but “Enter The Killzone” ultimately comes across as forgettable and bland.

“Enter The Killzone” is one of the few modern metal albums where its second half outperforms the first half. With the exception of the varied guitar work and rapid militaristic drum style of “The Man Eater,” the early portions of the album don’t leave much of an impression. Sure, the songs are brutal and abrasive, but there is nothing to latch onto. No catchy riffs, no strong vocal performance and no crazy breakdowns. Even after several listens, much of the first half of the album goes by with little recognition.

The turning point of the album is with the sharp interlude “Black Night.” A melodic number with haunting movie samples interspersed, it is the first sign that the band is ready to step forward with something different. “The Omnipotent Torture King” takes that step with a fiery start that keeps burning throughout the rest of the album. All of a sudden, the death metal vibes become more apparent. The guitar work starts to open up, as solos and leads appear out of thin air to showcase talent that was hidden on much of the first half of the album.

All of the ground made up by Anima lead to the closer “XXXIII.” Easily the best song of the band’s career, the six-minute epic starts out with prominent keyboard/orchestration work that evokes images of annihilation and warfare. The band slowly works their way in, keeping a steady pace that builds towards a strong finish, with an emphasis put on the rhythm section. There are some metal fans that see the last song of any album as a sign of where the band is heading; if “XXXIII” is any indication, Anima could have something going for them in the future.

Very few albums in recent memory have had such a polarizing first and second half. It’s like the band threw together some material to please the rabid deathcore fans early on, but then decided to actually put effort into the latter part. Even with a few solid tracks near the end, “Enter The Killzone” isn’t anything to get worked up over. Fans of the band will find another album on par with “The Daily Grind,” but everybody else will hardly bat an eye in Anima’s direction.

Highs: Great closer in "XXXIII," the second half of the album shows promise with more varied guitar work.

Lows: Much of the first half of the album, band doesn't push their songwriting forward enough.

Bottom line: A few shining moments, but the album is largely bland and forgettable deathcore.

Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls
2.5 out of 5 skulls


Key
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)