Black metal is a strange lawless land that weirdly is governed by a ton of dumb rules that should have gone out the window years ago. There’s no one right way to play it, and it’s been refreshing hearing bands try different things and stretch the borders to their comfort levels. I certainly have preferences for how black metal sounds, but handcuffing artists to that standard would be destructive and selfish.
Jersey’s Anticosm definitely do not adhere to any strict guidelines when making music, and if anything, these guys sound as loose and at home as anyone else playing this stuff. They’re back with their third record “The Call of the Void,” and their rock n roll-infused black metal remains fluid and crushing over nine tracks that some might even find, gulp, accessible. That’s another no-no for black metal, that people might hear it and like it, but this album is full of stuff I can imagine finding a bigger audience sort of the way Tribulation did, and there are some mild sonic comparisons there. This band actually has been doing its thing for more than 15 years now, with two other full-lengths (2009’s “Against the Cosmos” debut and 2015’s self-titled record) to their credit. The band—vocalist Kirill Kovalevsky, guitarist Mark Siedlecki II, bassist Tom Wilson, and drummer Beheader (Keith Romanski joined on guitar after the record was recorded)—have endured lineup changes and label switches, but from the sounds of this album, they’re refocused and ready to break bones again.
Opener “Viral” fades in from the cosmos before things catch fire, and the track begins to shed blood. “You exorcise demons in the name of false gods,” Kovalevsky howls over the chorus, with the guitars going off and creating a firestorm. A weird prog fog then settles before the leads spiral, and everything comes to a mashing conclusion. “Someone Must Suffer” has some tasty riffs out front, neat classical guitar spots, and then a wave of proggy thrash. “In the name of peace, let there be war,” Kovalevsky wails as the track blasts into the night. “Scorched Earth” has creative riffs, fiery vocals, and a speedy, molten tempo that spills over. The band hammers away with reckless abandon before finally bringing a modicum of mercy. The title track has a clean start, with acoustics setting the mood and synthy strings drizzling before the track explodes. The playing is melodic and catchy, swimming through guttural chaos and ending in a glorious haze of fireworks.
“Fall Asleep” emerges from a fog before fluid thrashing picks up, and a storming pace spreads fire throughout the land. Emotional soloing and punishing vocals lead the way before everything comes to a smearing end. Oddly, the final four songs are some of what I’d think would appeal to a broader crowd, which makes it feel strange that they’re back loaded. “Somewhere Between Life and Death” has guitars rushing, a strong rock n roll vibe, and shrieky vocals that suit the song well. Soloing kicks up and makes waves, bringing this short, but effective, song to an end. “Behold the Venom Crystals” has guitars poking, the playing spreading its wings, and a strong chorus that could go over well live. “The Only Truth” is solemn and eerie as it starts, with the vocals sounding raspier and the guitar work opening wounds. It’s another track that should be a blast to hear live, as it’s packed with a lot of energy. The album ends with “Never Enough,” perhaps the most energetic of the bunch and a real barnstormer at the conclusion of the record. “I don’t want to live forever, no!” Kovalevsky calls amid stunning soloing, sticky riffing, and a finish that grinds teeth to dust.
Anticosm sound primed and ready to bring more followers into their fold with “The Call of the Void,” a record that’s heavy as hell and has a lot of sticky moments that pop up and destroy you. It’s been a long road to get here and five years since their last album, but it sounds like all that time was very well spent from a creative standpoint. This album’s a bruiser, and it’s also an insane amount of fun.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/anticosmnj
To buy the album, go here: https://anticosm.bandcamp.com/