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Anima Morte - Upon Darkened Stains CD (album) cover


Anima Morte


Symphonic Prog

3.73 | 48 ratings

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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.

Windhawk | 4/5 |


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