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Anacrusis - Suffering Hour CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

2.41 | 25 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars No ballads then?!

Formed in 1986, St Louis, USA band Anacrusis released four albums between 1988 and 1993. Described as a thrash/progressive metal band, they are sometimes hailed as pioneers of bringing these two styles together. The band's output is usually split in half, with the third and fourth albums being recognised as containing material more relevant to prog.

This, the band's first album, was recorded in less than a week on a virtually non-existent budget. In order to have something to present to prospective record companies, the band financed the album themselves, the money being reimbursed when they secured a two album deal.

Looking retrospectively, Anacrusis themselves now recognise that this album sounds disjointed. This they attribute to the inclusion of a mixture of (then) old and new songs, and the rather haphazard approach taken to the recording process. As a result, the album did not turn out as they had hoped.

A quick look at the track list offers an early indication of what we can expect here. With titles such as Butcher's block, Frigid bitch and Disembowelled it is clear that this will presumably not be a selection of delicate ballads. First impressions are of course important, and unfortunately, it is the production quality which immediately jumps out here. It sounds as if the album has been recorded in an empty aircraft hanger, with the band at one end and the microphone at the other!

Once attuned through the fog to the actual music, the opening Present tense is actually not a bad display. Heavy riffing guitar supports an adventurous structure, the song being strong on the dramatics. There are echoes of Black Sabbath and other hard rock bands, but there is also a welcome degree of originality. This is actually one of the newer songs, and although it was the last to be written for the album, it was the first the band wrote together.

Thereafter we have a succession of songs of a similar heads down, in your face style of greater or lesser quality. The most striking aspect throughout is the dexterity of the guitar playing, which is quite superb. At times the solos can be unfocussed, but generally there is a credible tightness to the album. The vocals range from the melodic to the growled, but never drift too deeply into the unlistenable (except perhaps on Frigid Bitch). While the music here is most definitely butch it is not quite as extreme as the song titles might imply. There is actually a laudable amount of considered musicianship along the way.

The band originally recorded a cover version of Black Sabbath's NIB for the album, but reservations about copyright issues meant it was omitted. These have since been resolved and the track can be now heard in full.

Overall, with the limited instrumental line up available, there is a one dimensional feel to the album. A little more variety of sounds could have improved things immensely. Despite the issues with the recording quality though, not a bad first effort.

Footnote - Anacrusis is the note or notes which precede the first downbeat in a group.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |


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