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Anacrusis - Screams and Whispers CD (album) cover

SCREAMS AND WHISPERS

Anacrusis

 

Progressive Metal

3.47 | 44 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Breaking up the brotherhood

Anacrusis released their fourth and final album in 1993, just 5 years after their debut. "Screams and whispers" contains predominantly new material written for the album, with the odd track left over and developed from "Manic impressions" included. The band themselves feel that this is their most sophisticated release, even including keyboards on a few tracks to create a more orchestral feel.

The cracks which would lead to the demise of Anacrusis began to surface during recording of this album. This difficulties were not really related to the music at all though, but to the band's lack of commercial success. As a result, while drummer Chad Smith was heavily involved in the development of the songs for the album, he does not actually play on it at all, his drum stool being taken over by Paul Miles. While things went well with Miles initially, he never moved on from being the new boy, causing further unrest within the band.

Right from the opening "Sound the alarm", it is clear that the sound and style of the band has indeed been refined. The rough vocals are still there, together with the dominant guitar work, but the atmosphere is often more mainstream than on previous albums, with a greater focus on melody.

The song "Release" appears twice on the album, in original and remix forms, reflecting its potential for single release. It is primarily the melodic, chiming guitar riff which distinguishes the song, the vocals (on the verses at least) being relatively understated. Grateful mixes the heavy riffing on which the band base their sound with quasi-symphonic dramatics. On the other hand, some tracks, such as "Division" and "Tools of separation" suggest that the band has made virtually no progress at all since their first album, apart from in terms of the recording quality. Such songs will appeal to those who seek only the thrash element of Thrash metal, but for me they are easily forgotten.

Many of the lyrics on the album appear to indicate that the band members knew this was potentially their last album together, indeed the final verse of the final song Brotherhood? seems to sum things up well: "We're weaned on empathy, To satisfy our doubt While attempts at unity have scattered us about Should we invent a common bond through means misunderstood? Or are we simply widening the gaps? Should we force a brotherhood?"

"Brotherhood" is quite different to the rest of the album, and indeed to what has gone before. An acoustic intro quickly gives way to something more powerful, but the symphonic keyboards and complex arrangement add up to something much more substantial, and indeed satisfying.

In all, an album which is not as advanced from its predecessors as the band had clearly wished for. That said, there are distinct signs here that Anacrusis could have gone on to find a unique identity while developing their adopted style into something more commercially successful.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |

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