ANOPHELI - The Ache Of Want

Anopheli - The Ache Of Want

6 songs
41:00 minutes
***** ****
Halo Of Flies


Anyone remember British doom metal bands Fall Of Efrafra and Light Bearer? I do, and fondly at that. Turns out their vocalist Alex CF emigrated to Oakland, California to found Anopheli, a melodic crust octet. After their debut album last year, they are now back with the sophomore record The Ache Of Want, and a lot has changed compared to his previous bands. For one thing, the songs are now longer over ten minutes long, but they are still usually running for about eight minutes, which is quite an epic proportion for the crust genre.

What mostly sets the mood is the omnipresent cello which adds atmospheres of melancholy and sometimes even dark folk moods can be heard. The songwriting is quite varied. Take for instance the opener Awoken, whose first half comes with deep cello waves, undistorted guitars and a general sense of serenity, reminding possibly of bands like A Silver Mount Zion, Godspeed You Black Emperor and the likes. The second half is then picking up speed considerably, without leaving the cello in the background. This creates a kind of crust folk punk that comes with glorious melodies and charismatic strong and raw vocals. The following Acts Of Man elaborates and that same sound, yet starts out heavy from the get-go. While I usually rather disdain too much cello, in the case of Anopheli, it is used just right. It gives the band its very own sound, yet doesn’t feel like a gimmick, as the remaining musicians are tight enough not to hide themselves behind that classical instrument.

The middle of the record contains two shorter tracks, both clocking in at about four minutes. Squanderer is a fast crust folk track in the vein of what preceded, probably a contender for radio airplay due to its length… although how many radio stations have the balls to play this kind of music? Ruminations is a quiet étude on acoustic guitar and cello, quite nice but somehow robbing the album of its momentum. Would have been more fitting as an opener, I guess. But maybe this just prepares the ground for the last two tracks, Somnambulant and Trade, both once again eight minute monsters that display Anopheli’s varied approach to punk music.

In some ways Anopheli remind me of mid-Nineties emo/scream punk hardcore, at a time before that genre was taken over and commercialised by depressive yet heavy made-up goth teenagers. So while there are known elements, it all has been set up in quite original ways. Take punk, hardcore, crust, doom, post rock and folk, shake it all up, don’t forget the great songwriting and the impressive vocal performance, and you get with The Ache Of Want one of the most rewarding albums of the year.

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