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Ana Kefr - "Volume 1" (CD)

Ana Kefr - "Volume 1" CD cover image

"Volume 1" track listing:

1. Chapter 1 (1:58)
2. The Day that Guilt Turned White (2:47)
3. Feed a PETA Member to a Starving Child in Africa (:17)
4. T.ruthless (4:48)
5. Avenue of the Queen (6:49)
6. Chapter II (2:07)
7. The Giant Who had no Heart in His Body (4:25)
8. Takeover (5:22)
9. Branded by Black Water (4:49)
10. Chapter III (1:14)
11. Defiant We Stand (6:03)
12. The Orchid (9:10)
13. Chapter IV (1:32)
14. Step Back (4:40)

Reviewed by on February 26, 2010

"Versatile and brutal, melodic and masterful, Ana Kefr has pulled out all the stops of their music writing ability for this beast of an album. "

“I am infidel.” That’s what Ana Kefr translates to in Arabic. That seems to be what the members of Ana Kefr want to be: excluded from all religions. This message is pushed strongly in their lyrics, which sometimes tend to come off as brazen as the message they’re preaching against. Still, their debut album, “Volume 1,” is a metal monster. Versatile and brutal, melodic and masterful, Ana Kefr has pulled out all the stops of their music writing ability for this beast of an album.

The first thing I noticed about “Volume 1” was the utter versatility the band has woven through the music. The album starts out with “Chapter 1,” an atmospheric instrumental track (I later discovered that the other four tracks with “Chapter” in them all act as instrumental interludes; a nice touch) and dives straight into a venomous thrasher with “The Day that Guilt Turned White.” The next track, with the very tongue-in-cheek title of “Feed a PETA Member to a Starving Child in Africa,” is a 17 second grind track, akin to Napalm Death. From here on, this album is a vibrant display of countless sources of inspiration.

Whether the band is thrashing, slamming out a chugging breakdown, tapping the bongos or beautifully keying a symphonic piano section, the music weaves its way throughout the songs beautifully. Groovy thrash riffs are a staple here, along with heavy metal leads and catchy clean vocal choruses. Besides these, the band incorporates a sort of Middle Eastern feel to some of their music, along with some hardcore punk influences mixed in. Even amongst all the diverse and creative things done on this album, the band always manages to pull the songs together into a graceful cohesion that makes their music masterful yet accessible. I think the best general term I can stick to Ana Kefr would be progressive death metal, but “Volume 1” is so much more than that.

From hearing some of the lyrics on this album, Ana Kefr obviously opposes religion in general. This is pretty standard in the metal industry, but some of the lyrical content on this album is very simplistic and makes the band seem more interested in ramming their message down the listener’s throat than anything. Still, this album is full of great music. Unlike a lot of bands, Ana Kefr at least weaves their message into something very different and very creative, unlike a lot of monotonous black metal or skull thumping death metal.

For a debut album, “Volume 1” is pretty heavy material. The band members are obviously very experienced musicians and have woven together different influences into a rich, dense cohesion that is unlike a lot of recent releases I have heard. At the very end of the album, a strange vocal sample instructs the listener to insert volume two, so I have a feeling we haven’t heard the last of these guys.

Highs: Dense, vibrant music that comes together in a near-perfect unity.

Lows: Lyrical content seems somewhat simplistic.

Bottom line: A masterful debut.

Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls
4.5 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)