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Anima Morte - Upon Darkened Stains CD (album) cover


Anima Morte

Symphonic Prog

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Heavy, RPI, Symph, JR/F Canterbury Teams
4 stars Anima Morte continue to deliver their cinematic symphonic instrumental music with a lot of dark atmosphere, but also some lighter passage. The band is taking his influence from Goblin and the Swedish Prog bands, like Pär Lindh Project and Anglagard. However in the song "The Carrion Crow", it's the influence of Pink Floyd and Eloy that comes to mind. This is intense music with the keyboards shining throughout the album with the usual retro sound of the Hammond and Mellotron. But the guitars have their time to take the lead and the drums are on the spot. This is not a music overly complex but contains enough change of tempo and dynamics. The band focus on building the melody slowly with emotion. There is enough variety and moods in each song to keep the listening enjoyable for the whole thing. Unfortunately, according to the band, this could be their last album.
Report this review (#1352187)
Posted Saturday, January 24, 2015 | Review Permalink
3 stars "Anima Morte" is a Swedish symphonic rock band which I before this record hadn't heard anything from and with their recent release "Upon Darkened Stains" I got a perfect occasion to try and see what I think about their music. This 2014 record was released in november and it's the band's third album(the first came 2007). Anima Morte is Daniel Cannerfelt(guitars), Fredrik Klingwall(keyboards and mellotrons), Stefan Granberg(bouzoki, keyboards, bass, guitars) and Teddy Möller(drums). The record also features some guests: Mattias Olsson, David Lundbert, Ketil Einarsen, Jerk Wååg and Johan Klingwall.

I had no information about the band when I started listening and my first impression was that the music was pleasant and instrumental. I have overheard it three times now and I liked what I heard. The band could be lauded for some things: the melodic guitar does some fine solos and the sound of flute and other sweetnesses are great. Most songs are quite fine and there are hightlights. If I had to choose one song, it should be "Wakeless" which melody I love(8/10) and "Illusion is the catalyst", Fear will pass over your mind" and "The darkest pattern" are also very well played and nice. The majority of the rest could also be heard for sure.

The album doesn't please me all the way thought. The songs are quite much the same and not so many details stands out. I could have gained on having vocals and a bit more varying arrangements. I felt now that I heard the same song many times unfortunately, though it wasn't a bad song. I will give the record three stars which I consider a fair conclusion.

Report this review (#1379859)
Posted Sunday, March 8, 2015 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
3 stars I picked this up some time ago based on the guest list as well as this band being described as being greatly influenced by Horror movie soundtracks, in particular Enio Morricone and GOBLIN are mentioned by the band. Well expectations can really put a damper on things can't they? This is rightly listed under Symphonic but the modern sounding guitar, synths along with the outbursts of power didn't do much for me. On the other hand the mellotron kills on this album and it's on every track. We get 12 short songs and oh yeah the guests include Mattias Olsson(ANGLAGARD), David Lundberg(GOSTA BERLINGS SAGA), Ketil Einarsen(KAUKASUS) and two other guests. As much as I enjoy this album except for some of the reasons listed above, quite a few songs seem to be extended just for the sake of extending them in my opinion.

"Blessing Of The Dead" opens with piano as mellotron, church bells, strings and drums join in. This builds and falls throughout. "Illusion Is The Catalyst" opens with piano and synths but it turns dramatic very quickly before settling in with synths and piano out front. Sudden outbursts come and go before it turns powerful. We get mellotron and strings as well as themes start to get repeated. Not a fan of the first two songs. "Ephemeris" is a top three though and it opens with flute, cymbals and atmosphere before the drums and more arrive. I like the sound of this one a lot. Some nice drum and bass work too. Gotta love the flute on this track as well. "Fear Will Pass Over Your Mind" starts with an eerie mood as drums, atmosphere and intricate sounds lead the way. It picks up before a minute and I really dig the mellotron choirs after 3 minutes. "Wakeless" is another top three for me. Picked guitar as the drums and bass join in then mellotron. The guitar starts to solo then the piano leads. The mellotron is back in full force. Nice. Then the guitar returns soloing and it's quite emotional a minute later. "Interruption" has some slicing violin before a minute and mellotron as well. I like the low end sound here.

"The Darkest Pattern" opens with intricate sounds and synths as the drums join in. Synths lead after a minute and some nice bass 1 1/2 minutes in. The guitar leads before 3 minutes then back to the synths. The guitar is back late. "The Carrion Crow" opens with picked guitar as drums and bass join in. Piano and more follow. A catchy beat here and the organ helps out as well. Mellotron 2 minutes in then piano and violin late. "Echoing The Red" picks up quickly with beats and pulses as the organ, mellotron arrive then the strings and guitar play over top. "Isomorphia" turns quite powerful with the guitar out front fairly quickly and the guitar is expressive here. "First Snow On The Last Ashes" is more like it as it's more relaxed, especially the mellotron a minute in and it will come and go. "Halls Of Death" is my final top three. Atmosphere to open as intricate sounds play over top. It picks up and there's an orchestral vibe because of the strings slicing away. It settles down with flute then picks up again.

I can see myself revisiting this album in a few years from now and wondering why I didn't give this 4 stars. Well, right now it's about expectations and it falls a little short. 3.5 stars.

Report this review (#1434985)
Posted Saturday, July 4, 2015 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Swedish quartet ANIMA MORTE first appeared on the scene with the album "Face the Sea of Darkness", released three years after the band's formation in 2004. A further two EPs and two more full length albums have been created by this foursome since then. "Upon Darkened Stains" dates back to 2014, and was released through Swedish label Transubstans Records towards the end of the year.

Anima Morte explicitly states that a key inspiration for them are Italian bands such as Goblin and Fabio Frizzi, just as well known for creating music to be used as movie scores as they are in the creation of material to be enjoyed as standalone productions aimed at a music interested audience. And if not on anything else, the manner in which the songs develop on this album has a lot in common with movies, especially the manner in which they will ebb and flow in mood and intensity, often concluding with a more careful epilogue. There are some distinct dynamics at play here that most likely will fascinate those with a strong affection for moving pictures.

The musical side things here are rather firmly situated inside the symphonic part of the progressive rock universe. Layered arrangements featuring mainly vintage sounding keyboards, organ and Mellotron is an ongoing feature, and as mentioned just about always used in a strong ebb and flow context. On some occasions with a fairly seamless flow, the arrangements gradually ascending and descending in intensity, on other occasions building up to a more forceful crescendo and then returning to a more delicate beginning point again, in some cases using sudden shifts for a more poignant dramatic effect to crystallize. The common denominator in just about all songs here is a dark atmosphere, where words like melancholic and mournful are just as appropriate as brooding, haunting and ominous. All depending on intensity. The most intense and dramatic passages will feature dark toned Mellotron effects, vintage keyboards in harmonic resonance, majestic organ surges and dark toned guitar details adding depth and an undercurrent of darkness to an already almost oppressive landscape. But even when the arrangements are light toned and delicate there's something of a ghostly, nervous sheen to the proceedings, and both piano and percussion details are used to good effect to create unnerving moods by way of subtle effects. Even in the rare instances where the guitar is given a more prominent and dominant role the band manage to conjure atmospheres of this nature, as exemplified quite nicely on a track like Isomorphia.

Instrumental progressive rock of the symphonic variety is what Anima Morte provides, but in a manner that will resonate best among those with a taste for the darker side of progressive rock as far as mood and atmosphere is concerned. I guess a certain taste for a band like aforementioned Goblin might be an advantage to be able to enjoy this album, as will an affection for music that more or less closely follow the dynamics of a movie in terms of development. Those who can recognize their taste in music from such a description should know their visiting time when it comes to this band and this album.

Report this review (#1526351)
Posted Sunday, February 7, 2016 | Review Permalink

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