Black Anima - "Hammer of the North" (CD/EP)
"Hammer of the North" track listing:
1. Gebed Door de Macht Van Een Oscillator
2. Serpent of the Sea
3. Kvick I Jord (Buried Alive)
4. Hammer of the North
5. The Christian Cross
Reviewed by sonictherapy on March 15, 2011
Receiving this EP with the title "Hammer of the North" from Black Anima, a band that derives their name from the mother of the antichrist, all sorts of images were conjured up in my mind. Add to that their homeland of Sweden and I half expected black metal apotheosis.
Actually from the information I had garnered about this band, they have a demo and another EP to their credit. "Hammer of the North" is a five song venture that is not solely secular black metal, but straddles the realm of blackened thrash as well. They choose to title all of their songs as hymns in an ecumenical twist.
After the first track, a creepy one minute intro by the name of "Gebed Door de Macht Van Een Oscillator," you get to the gist of Black Anima as a band. "Kvick I Jord" is a decent number with some good kick to it. They state their influences to be everywhere from Satyricon to NWOBHM and they combine vestiges of each for a nice raw sound that changes tempo enough. The vocals of Astaroth are the achilles heel of it though. When he sings, he has the tendency to overpronounce words that gets grating really fast. The title cut is a decent mid-paced "hymn" that is capable, if not overwhelming.
"Serpent of the Sea" is a nicely done, more traditional black metal track which, despite the uber-raw production, lays down good riffs that change into a nice session of leads towards the end. However, the song is all but ruined by the vocals, which are nothing short of cringe-worthy on this one. It is super hard to make it through most of the songs because of this, which is too bad. If you do your best to tune out the off-pitch caterwauling, the music isn't half bad. "The Christian Cross" is a 21 minute song that commences with a somber acoustic intro and works its way through many movements. But as the song gains momentum, so do those vocals - resulting in a screech-fest that is painfully unlistenable.
Black Anima seems like a competent act starting out and finding themselves and their sound in that early stage of the game. If they want to go to the next level, however, they might seriously contemplate a line-up change.
Highs: A capable black metal/thrash amalgamation
Lows: Vocalist is hard to listen to
Bottom line: You are better off waiting for the band's next release.
Get more info including news, reviews, interviews, links, etc. on our Black Anima band page.