Much like thrash, death metal and every other subgenre really, there are a lot of young'uns out today playing music like it's the '80s and '90s all over again and I would definitely take that over most of the modern garbage that floods today's metal scene. Anguish are a group that plays some fantastic doom metal in the vein of the old masters and the sound is one that isn't anything new, but at the same time it doesn't sound like a Black Sabbath clone and "Through the Archdemon's Head" wouldn't sound out of place if it had come out decades earlier, but probably would have been held in high regard much like albums such as "Nightfall" or "Born Too Late."
If Anguish was being compared to the masters from the past, the name most commonly brought up would probably be the doom legends, Candlemass. A lot of the melodies on "Through the Archdemon's Head" evoke the same kind of gloomy darkness that songs like "Darkness In Paradise" and "Bearer of Pain" had, while at the same time retaining a very heavy feel. Take a listen to the melodies on "Book of Fox" and "Illusive Damnation" because they're absolutely brilliant, especially when accompanied by the very doomy powerchords that weigh the listener down like an anvil crushing your limbs, making for the perfect mix of undeniable heaviness and eerie, yet beautiful melodic passages. Every now and then, Anguish decides to break into a midpaced section and the riffs are terrific, especially on the song "Lair of the Gods." Once that very headbang-friendly riff disappears, and the doomy riff after clears the listener is treated with a stellar solo that is phenomenal and shows the band's ability to deliver a song with a little bit of everything as opposed to just plodding along with only one riff.
Since I've been proclaiming that these Swedish doom-masters sound much like their fellow countrymen in Candlemass, you're probably assuming that the vocals on "Through the Archdemon's Head" sound like a Marcolin clone, right? Wrong. The vocals here are what really separate Anguish from a lot of doom bands that emulate the old masters nearly riff for riff and melody for melody, because they could honestly front a black metal band. They sound like a much more coherent and less throaty version of Attila Chisar, yet they sound perfectly fine fronting the doomy material. They also add a darker feel to the band, as opposed to a more epic aura which is always welcome.
This is definitely something that any fan of Candlemass, Saint Vitus or Solitude Aeternus should own, as this release will creep along and smother the listener with gloomy greatness while retaining a minor epic atmosphere that is perfect for sitting back and vegetating to.
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"Book of Fox"
"Lair of the Gods"
4.3/5 or 86%.