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Anacrusis - Suffering Hour CD (album) cover

SUFFERING HOUR

Anacrusis

Progressive Metal


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1 stars Suffering 47 minutes?

INTRODUCTION
Well, what have we got here? R.O.T., Butcher's Block, Frigid Bitch, Annihilation Complete, Disemboweled? With such track titles you don't expect to find much prog here. In fact there isn't any prog present on this album. Suffering Hour is Anacrusis' debut album and has its' roots deep in old school thrash/speed metal. The presence of Anacrusis on PA is entirely based on their third and fourth album, which are IMO highlights of prog metal.

TRACK by TRACK
1) Present Tense [3/10]
2) Imprisoned [4/10]
3) R.O.T. [4/10]
4) Butcher's Block [4/10]
5) A World To Gain [3/10]
6) Frigid Bitch [4/10]
7) Fighting Evil [3/10]
8) Twisted Cross [5/10]
9) Annihilation Complete / Disemboweled [5/10]

CONCLUSION
No matter how much I like Anacrusis' other albums, I can't give this album more than a one star rating. And no, I'm not a thrash basher. I surely can appreciate thrash metal, but this is not my cup of T(hrash). The production is very poor, so are the vocals and the song structures are stereotyped. Only the track "Twisted Cross" has got some moments of dawning originality. The track begins with a slow, melancholic intro that after 2 minutes explodes into a (in this case very melodious) frenzy of guitar, bass and drums.
This album is IMO only of interest to music fans who are not afraid of old school thrash/speed metal (or heavier) and who have a liking for (for example) early Slayer, Kreator, Destruction, Venom. Even if you like their third or fourth album, you should first listen to this album if you're considering purchasing Anacrusis' earlier discography.

Album rating: 32% = 1 star

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Send comments to Draconean (BETA) | Report this review (#116298)
Posted Saturday, March 24, 2007 | Review Permalink
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.

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Send comments to Easy Livin (BETA) | Report this review (#172635)
Posted Saturday, May 31, 2008 | Review Permalink
UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Suffering Hour is the debut studio album from American progressive metal act Anacrusis. This first album from the group doesnīt really fall under the progressive metal catagory though.

The music is basically thrash metal as it was played by thousands of bands in the mid- to late eighties. Iīm reminded of bands like Kreator, Sodom, Destruction, Xentrix, Heathen, Forbidden, Vio-Lence and and Slayer among others. I really enjoy some of the mentioned bands while others never impressed me much. Anacrusis falls under the latter catagory with Suffering Hour. As such the music is well played and there are even some great thrashy tremolo riffing here and there, but the structure of the songs really gets my excitement down. The songs almost seem like theyīve been thrown together at random with no eye for the overall sound of the music. The vocals also have some lowpoints and here I mean the odd screams that Kenn Nardi sometimes put into his performance. I kind of like his voice though and Iīm sure the singing will improve on later albums.

The musicianship is pretty good even though drummer Mike Owen isnīt the most tight drummer Iīve heard. Maybe itīs due to little studio time.

The production isnīt very good and of course that doesnīt help the music blossom.

Suffering Hour was released in 1988, but it sounds a bit dated. Itīs like they had these songs for a couple of years and when they finally got a record contract they just put out those old songs instead of writing new material that would have been more fitting in 1988. You have to remember that Metallica put out ...And Justice for All in 1988, Slayer put out South of Heaven and Testament released The New Order ( just to mention a few of the biggest thrash metal releases that year) and the compitition was really hard. Compared to the above mentioned released Suffering Hour is blown away. There are elements on Suffering Hour that I enjoy so Iīll rate it 2 stars, but for progressive music lovers ( and even fans of eighties thrash metal) this should hold little to no interest.

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Send comments to UMUR (BETA) | Report this review (#186649)
Posted Wednesday, October 22, 2008 | Review Permalink
J-Man
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Suffering Hour, the debut album from thrash metal band Anacrusis, is a pretty important album in the thrash metal genre. It's nowhere near the importance of Slayer's Reign In Blood or Metallica's Master of Puppets, but Suffering Hour is a bit of an underground classic in the thrash metal genre. Even though I am a pretty big fan of late 80's thrash metal, Suffering Hour has never really impressed me. It shows a lot of potential, but a few big problems really destroy my enjoyment of this album.

As I've mentioned earlier, this is late 80's thrash metal in the vein of Slayer or Metallica, but this never reaches the high level of quality that those bands reached in the late 80's. First of all, Suffering Hour just isn't as memorable as either of those band's masterpieces. After I finished listening to this album I can only recall a few riffs, and that's always a big problem. I have a very hard time distinguishing all of the songs from each other because of the general lack of variation and memorable sections. There are a few exceptions, but generally it's hard for me to remember every song when I'm done with the album. I wish that the arrangements would have been a bit more varied. There is a limited amount of instruments on this album, and it makes the album feel linear and uninteresting by the end.

The four musicians on this album range in terms of quality. Mike Owen's drumming is pretty good; tight and fast. Not much more I could ask from a thrash metal drummer. The bass is mostly inaudible except for a few quieter parts, and that's a big problem. The two guitarists (Kevin Heidbreder and Kenn Nardi) are pretty great and really show their chops on Suffering Hour. Unfortunately, my biggest issue with this entire album is the vocals. While they aren't terrible, every now and again Kenn Nardi will do an odd, high pitched shriek that I find extremely annoying. Listen to Twisted Cross or and you will know what I mean. It sounds a bit like a dying bird to me. Needless to say it didn't impress me very much. When he sings normally or even goes rougher, he sounds great. It's just those screams that seam to appear in all of the songs that really annoy me.

As I've mentioned, the bass is generally inaudible. This obviously means that the production isn't very good. It's pretty standard for late 80's thrash metal, but I find it insufficient. It really detracts from the overall value.

Conclusion:

Suffering Hour is a rather poor debut from Anacrusis. They have never been one of my favorite thrash metal bands, and this album proves that. This is worth no more than 2 stars. If you're into Anacrusis and/or are a huge fan of early thrash metal, this might be worth getting. Keep in mind, however, that I am a big fan of thrash metal and I don't find much enjoyment from this album.

2 stars.

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Send comments to J-Man (BETA) | Report this review (#278294)
Posted Saturday, April 17, 2010 | Review Permalink
2 stars The first album from Anacrusis follows a familiar hardcore crossover thrash metal pattern. Familiar that is for those of us who were around at that time when Anacrusis released this album and had a brief taste of fame.

The thin vocals and the guitar riffs says it all, really. This is pretty standard thrash metal and it is not even good. Then again, very few thrash metal albums from that era were good. I get some associations to Slayer's Reign In Blood, but also a lot of associations and bad memories from countless thrash metal albums still in my record collection (packed away well out of view).

This album does not move me at all. The sound is pretty bad too, although not horrible and this album has a distinct lack of good songs too. Avoid.

2 stars

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Send comments to toroddfuglesteg (BETA) | Report this review (#436011)
Posted Wednesday, April 20, 2011 | Review Permalink

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