The amount of new death metal bands that I've come across in just the last year has been perplexing to say the least. There are bands from every little sub-sub-genre and beyond, good and bad, terrific and horrible, and some that are just downright weird. Anhedonist would definitely find itself a comfortable position in the "good" section and definitely in the weird category as well. Based on what I had read about the band and their debut record "Netherwards," I was expecting some incredible Incantation worship and for the band to sound similar to other notable acts out today, with the bands Funebrarum and Disma being the usual comparisons for this group, only to be disappointed. Not to say that this record was disappointing, just the sound isn't what I was expecting based on everything that had been said about this band.
With Incantation being one of the most idolized bands out there for young groups, I was expecting some really low and heavy death metal that sounded like it was recorded in a cavern. And aside from the Picard-esque vocal stylings on "Netherwards" and the occasional McEntee-like tremolos, I fail to see why this four song collection is considered the best thing since "Mortal Throne of Nazarene." Again, I must reiterate that I'm not bashing Anhedonist, because they're quite good at what they do, but the praise I've seen for this band is just mind-boggling for myself. Funebrarum and Disma never released any material that progressed as much as the four tracks on "Netherwards" do. When you only have four songs on an album that clocks in at a little over 40 minutes, there had better be some progression and not just the same monotonous riffing. The opening track "Saturnine" starts with some low-end tremolos, but as the song moves on there are some doomy moments, melodic parts, and faster riffs that all seem to make their entrance in the song perfectly, making sure the listener doesn't fall asleep during the near ten minute track.
I wish I could say that the next three tracks are radically different from the first, but they're not. Though, the song "Estrangement" is easily the best one on the record as it brings in some nice melodies that give the music a darker ambiance while the tremolo sections are masked by some agonizing vocals that are sure to send shivers down the listener's spine. The drums and bass don't do anything to make them the focal point of the music, but their job is done well enough. The main focus of the music is the dark and doomy sound created through the blending of the riffs, clean guitar parts, melodies and vocals, but this ambiance simply isn't enough to make "Netherwards" an amazing record, only one that stands out enough to be recognized as decent.
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4.1/5 or 82%.