It seems as if this year had a lot of great Progressive Metalcore releases, from both popular as well as underappreciated bands. Quite surprisingly, it was the underappreciated bands that produced the best material. As a huge fan of this specific approach to music, I’ve been on a quest to find more bands that fall under the category. The long search got me into Lost In Separation, Earthists, Buy Jupiter, and many other great bands.
This time around, The Anima Effect grabbed my attention with their well crafted debut album by the name of Upheaval! This album portrays a closeness to the euphonic character of Progressive Metal and an angry character more in line with Metalcore. The album itself flaunts 12 tracks that will surely keep you entertained from start to finish. From delicious guitar solos to face-melting breakdowns, Upheaval promises an emphatic journey through shades of technical and complex Metalcore.
Their songs are much easier to analyze as a whole instead of highlighting the better parts alone. For instance, the opening track Descend has a lot of elements going into it but one can never claim that the minute and half mark is what specifically makes this song better… It’s better to say that the song, as a whole, is a well constructed piece of art with no major flaws… except for the sudden outro… which smoothly transitions into the second track, Confront!
As the album continually transits with the climax of each track, it leaves an atmospheric feeling which adds extra points for the overall memorability of the album. With every single track, the band makes sure that you are getting something unreal and surprising. From a Nintendocore influenced intro on Cycles to Technical/Progressive Death Metal-esque guitar solos on Liberate, The Anima Effect keep their music as original as possible, with the exception of some repetitive djenty breakdowns.
The title track Upheaval serves as good filler, being an atmospheric interlude between walls of metal. The track that follows it is Reclaim, which dwells on a similar atmospheric essence introduced by the previous tracks. The album quickly descends with the climax of Demagogue and consequently closes things out with the outro track Ascend, ending the album on a high and positive note.
However, by the time the album ends, it’s tough to judge whether the album is good enough to really kick start the bands career. Does it require more to grab someone’s attention? The tracks are performed very well but a bit lengthy and repetitive. Some transitions may be puzzling to listeners. But… in the end, all that matters is the final output- which is quite surprising and remarkable! That being said, it’s safe to call The Anima Effect a highly talented band who’s potentially on the path to metal underground stardom!
FFO The Contortionist, Oceans Ate Alaska, Slice The Cake and other Prog infused Metal bands.
– Sooraj Ram