1. Anata - The Conductor's Departure
I'm pretty sure everyone saw this one coming.
This album. THIS FUCKING ALBUM. Where do I even start?! Merely calling this the pinnacle of Anata's career so far would be an injustice to this masterpiece. When someone asks what a technical death metal album should sound like, the correct answer would be to hand them a copy of this album. Not only is this what every technical death metal band should strive for, but this is also what a metal album in general should sound like. This album right here makes me proud to tell everyone that I am a death metal fan.
The songs are very progressive in structure, but without the pretension. The instrumentation is technical, without being self-indulgent. The brutality is bonecrushing, without becoming monotonous. The atmosphere is powerful, without being overbearing. The melody is emotional, without being cheesy. They have taken every facet of their sound, and polished it to a razor fucking sharp point. Most albums have that one part where you have thoughts like "They could have done without this song", or "This part should have lasted longer", or "Why is this section here?" This album has none of that. Bad songs do not exist on this album. Boredom? NOT HERE, ASSHOLE
. The entire 54 minutes that this album runs, they are doing SOMETHING to catch your attention. Whether it be a catchy riff, a breathtaking melody, a jawdropping solo, a tasty drum fill, you name it, it's here.
This is a progressive/technical death metal album that has NOTHING to prove. This album has four guys who pick up their instruments, and proceed to blow away every single stereotype that you may have possibly concieved of their genre, just because they CAN. This album is bursting at the seams with passion and emotion. Fredrik and Andreas use every necessary skill on their guitars to achieve one of the most unique sounds in the technical death metal realm. Every riff, every solo, every melody, is EXACTLY where it should be. Just listen to the counterpoint riffing of "Downward Spiral Into Madness", or the moving, back and forth melodies of "Better Grieved Than Fooled" or the jagged, passionate, juggernaut known as "The Great Juggler". Brutality and technicality coexist with emotion and melody here. Not a single goddamn note is wasted on any type of meaningless filler. Even the interlude "Children's Laughter" is an amazing display of emotive clean guitar. A lot of the guitarwork on this album sounds...sentimental. That may be an odd way to describe it, but it's true. They are quite possibly the only death metal band i've ever heard to capture such an emotion and channel it through ten tracks of technical insanity. Fredrik's vocals stick to his tried and true "wild boar" style growl, but there's something different. He's not just trying to sound "brutal" or "evil", but his growls are truly coming from within his soul. How he manages to come off as being this sincere with death metal vocals is beyond me. Then we have Conny. Christ this guy has really done it this time. He has displayed COMPLETE control over that drumkit of his. Every fill, roll, beat, and blastbeat is in the right place. He never tries to show off, never tries to play "REEL FUKIN FAST DOOD", and never gets stale, lazy, or repetitive. His fluidity is at its finest here. Everything sounds COMPLETELY natural. He is obviously an amzing drummer, but he never tries to shove this fact in your face, and never overpowers the guitars like in some albums. Henrik Drake, their bass player whom I regrettingly failed to mention until now, is even a standout here. His basslines are quite possibly the darkest part of the album, and while they may not be at the level of technicality of the rest of the band, they play a VERY important part, as they give the album much of the low end that allows for such a moody, melancholic atmosphere. Yes, you're reading that correctly. A tech-death album that achieves melancholy.
Umm...why the FUCK are you still reading this?! Why aren't you listening to this?! With The Conductor's Departure, Anata have taken the entire genre of technical death metal, and proceed to completely shit upon it's altar. They have taken the crown, and rightfully claimed their spot on the throne as the kings of this genre. They rightfully stake their claim as the number one band on my list and...JUST LISTEN TO THE FUCKING ALBUM AND GET YOUR COLON BLOWN OUT OF YOUR GODDAMN SHITHOLE.
BTW, the title track will be the best eight minutes of your life. FACT.
Downward Spiral Into Madness
Better Grieved Than Fooled
The Great Juggler
Cold Heart Forged in Hell
I Would Dream of Blood
The Conductor's Departure
(That's right, the entire goddamn thing