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THE ANCHORET

Progressive Metal • Canada


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The Anchoret biography
The Anchoret is the brainchild of Canadian bass player Eduard Levitsky, who had always had the idea to bridge prog rock and his love of metal, and The Anchoret was born during the 2020 lockdown when he felt isolated from the world and needed an outlet. Eduard started his musical career playing trumpet in a high school band and eventually, like almost every other teenager, also began playing guitar. He soon formed a band with his best friend who played bass and they started playing local gigs. Some years later his friend passed away under tragic circumstances, and when Ed started playing again he picked up the mantle of the bass.

Eduard's inspirations that first got him interested in writing music were Nightwish and Kamelot, and it was Opeth and Dan Swano who led him into the more extreme forms of music. His first band was called Hollow, which had started out as a power metal band, but eventually evolved more towards blackened death metal with lots of orchestrations.

Eduard discussed his ideas for recording an album with vocalist Sylvain Auclair of the progressive metal band Heaven's Cry and progressive rock band Karcius (both on PA), and sent him samples of the music. Sylvain was instantly hooked. Eduard then wrote and recorded the full demo using virtual instruments as placeholders for instruments he could not play, and shared it with the other musicians that were to be featured on the album, who subsequently replaced the virtual instruments with their own contributions. Once the demo was finished and produced, Sylvain Auclair gave stories to the songs and gradually tied everything together.

All the musicians on the debut album are from different countries, and Eduard describes The Anchoret as a prog metal band that occasionally bridges over into prog rock territory.

'It All Began With Loneliness' is all about new beginnings, connections, and honesty. Every track on the album deals with isolation in one form or another but, more importantly, every song has a message of hope, self-growth and self-love. The stories are shaped around tormented characters seeking to find alternatives and solutions to solve their current miserable state, and better their surroundings.

The album was written during a period where Eduard felt isolated from the World in a new city, during a pandemic, and completely alone with his own thoughts. There was initially no band, so he couldn't share the struggle or complain - and the songs became a way ...
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3.73 | 18 ratings
It All Began with Loneliness
2023

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THE ANCHORET Reviews


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 It All Began with Loneliness by ANCHORET, THE album cover Studio Album, 2023
3.73 | 18 ratings

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It All Began with Loneliness
The Anchoret Progressive Metal

Review by TheEliteExtremophile

3 stars I really couldn't find too much about The Anchoret. "Canada" is the extent of what I could find about their origin, and their record label doesn't have much more information on them. This is a five-piece band that plays a melodic variety of progressive metal, with a number of notable jazz inclusions. With such a scarcity of information, let's jump right into their debut record, It All Began with Loneliness.

Despite the title, it actually begins with "An Office For?" This features some jazzy?if somewhat overwrought?guitar soloing before launching into a slow-moving, languid verse. The saxophone which shows up is also a bit on the corny end of things. But don't worry, things improve after this somewhat weak opening!

"A Dead Man" starts with a blistering riff that smoothly transitions into a mellower verse. The intensity builds up again, and I really like a lot of the watery guitar effects the band deploys. The mood vacillates between metallic intensity and quieter, jazz-infused moments. Piercing flute provides sharp contrast to vague, distorted guitars, and there's also a lovely organ solo that reminds me of Rick Wakeman's brief stint in The Strawbs. The closing minute or so again veers a bit deeper into cheese than I like, but it's not bad.

A rapid, chugging riff opens "Until the Sun Illuminates". Organ and synthesizer are both naturally integrated with the metallic backing, and the vocal performance is good. The song's midsection is enjoyable but not ultimately memorable. It ends strong, though, with a saxophone solo over a doomy guitar line.

I'm not wild about the vocal performance on "Someone Listening?". The raspy, strained vocals remind me too much of early '00s hard rock. The instrumental elements are pretty strong, though. As the song quiets down, saxophone again comes in for a light, jazzy solo. (I like saxophone, but I really wish metal bands that incorporated it would do more than just use it for solos. Be like Ihsahn or Ăthĕrĭa Conscĭentĭa and actually utilize sax in the backbone of the song! I'm especially looking at you, Rivers of Nihil.) In the final third of the song, layers of vocals are stacked up to create a more ethereal feel, and it suits the spacy mood of the music well.

"Forsaken" has a slower, mournful opening. Electric piano underpins the verse, and the vocals are lightly affected. When guitars burst in, it's a powerful, Opeth-inspired riff; and the middle of the song has a wonderful, flashy, Emersonian synth solo. The final 90 seconds feature some great, creepy keyboard textures, too. "Buried" follows this and is pretty solid, except for its corny-ass final 20 seconds.

A Dream Theater-sounding synth-and-guitar passage opens "All Turns to Clay". And it seems the band (sorta) took my above critique into account, as there is a twisting sax line during the verse. (However, it feels more like a solo that they sing over than an integral part of the composition.) The riffs here are the tightest, fastest, and most pummeling of any on the album. I also like the prominence synths get in this song.

"Unafraid" has a solid groove to it, and the vocal performance is again pretty solid here. The main riff of the verse is a fun, technical passage that once more draws heavily from Dream Theater. This song is one of the best syntheses of the band's technicality and melodicism. The flute solo in the middle of this song is fantastic, too. It's tense, energetic, and anxious.

The final song here is "Stay". It's a good conclusion, though too much of its runtime is consumed by a guitar solo. It's a good solo, but it lingers for too long.

It All Began with Loneliness is a pretty solid release. It stays well within standard practices for modern prog, in terms of instrumentation and structure. I was slightly disappointed, as I found that it didn't quite hold up spectacularly under closer listening. (I initially listened to this in the background while doing other work.) Parts of it are a bit too reliant on tropes, and the sense of drama isn't necessarily always earned, either. It's still a good record, though, with some strong jazz integrations.

Review originally posted here: theeliteextremophile.com/2023/09/25/album-review-the-anchoret-it-all-began-with-loneliness/

 It All Began with Loneliness by ANCHORET, THE album cover Studio Album, 2023
3.73 | 18 ratings

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It All Began with Loneliness
The Anchoret Progressive Metal

Review by alainPP

3 stars THE ANCHORET fusion metal and prog rock, music combining percussive riffs with varied jazzy, bluesy and heavy breaks; a little PAIN OF SALVATION, EVERGREY, ANDROMEDA, KAMELOT, a lot of OPETH, a touch of old PINK FLOYD and KING CRIMSON for atmosphere; sax, flutes, a Mellotron, in short, modern progressive metal for this first album.

"An Office for..." tune to GILMOUR in the introduction, which seats the spectator; languorous choirs and plaintive sax which surprises to announce "A Dead Man" marking the color, heavy black with triple pedal; the voice of Sylvain from KARCIUS, deep and gripping, combines with the destructuring riff in the style of an OPETH from before, the true extreme prog; a flute comes to sow discord quickly coupled with an organ like in the good old days; and Leo gives us a superb guitar solo just to show it's heavy, well constructed. "Until the Sun Illuminates" continues with this heavy prog metal sound, a machine-gun riff and Sylvain with his gravelly voice leering on PAIN OF SALVATION, Andy distills his synth and old keyboard; a melancholic prog death metal with a note of hope, having wings; synth break that boils, angry riff that hurtles down, gripping vocals and vibrant sax before the heavy out-of-tune finale. "Someone Listening?" ╗ pileup of heavy drawers and jazzy crystalline escapades; a break full of emotion with the sax giving in sensitivity, emotion, we are far from 'hard' as the riff could lead us to think; a sax solo yes you read correctly which engages with that of the guitar, bluffing. "Forsaken" and the sax attack then frontal attack between Devin TOWNSEND, OPETH and BETWEEN THE BURIED seen recently, knowing how to navigate between hard prog and jazzy atmosphere right in the middle; guitar solo, growling voice bordering on growl then a keyboard eyeing the DREAM THEATER, it goes in all directions; return of the sax to calibrate everything; Oriental break, Gregorian all at once to deliver a progressive blow.

"Buried" for the radio edit, short title surfing on the heavy and fast air, a heavy machine gun riff, a heavy depressive atmosphere, in short interheavy! "All Turns to Clay" for the extreme fusion between vocals and stressful riff, the growl again at the doorstep; and then, and then there is this sax that sets the fire to dance a drunken dance from home, the thing that you don't know how to dance; almost saturated expressive sound, on an AVENGED SEVENFOLD, the voice starts more and more on a Jorn LANDE before the air brings us to a latent riff break and its disturbing Mellotron in the background. "Unafraid" strings detuned forward, jerky air, hold the ALICE IN CHAINS with their characteristic choirs, memory; the swirling synth, the metronomic riff, the more relaxed sound, the break ah this short break it moves my legs a good sign, it rises with the voices, the groovy sound in the tradition of TOOL of course; Hey JETHRO TULL comes for a solo flute tour; the ears have become acclimatized to the heavy sound and only hear the crazy breaks parts. "Stay" stay is the end; a classic piano intro, warm voice, a slow US like that of a SURVIVOR, a BLACKFOOT? In short, the ballad injected with emotion with Sylvain who lowers his vocal performance; Leo's solo is melodic and airy, it rises to a hypersphere or almost, Andy hooked on the guitar comes to pour in a few touches of Mellotron to make you swoon up to the bluesy note and the return of the piano from the start, solemn, touching.

THE ANCHORET therefore releases a musical slap, a first draft of long worked tracks oscillating between hard, prog, jazzy, groovy and bluesy; a prog metal, prog death and prog jazz album that shakes up the codes with varied instruments that are not often found together. A discordant album which raises questions at the start, but do not hesitate to put it back from time to time and the prog magic operates over time, the spell operates, the notes are lost in our musical memory space and make this album a fine example of creativity from today's progressive world.

 It All Began with Loneliness by ANCHORET, THE album cover Studio Album, 2023
3.73 | 18 ratings

BUY
It All Began with Loneliness
The Anchoret Progressive Metal

Review by gervelaz94

5 stars 2023 has been a fantastic year for progressive music, especially for debut albums from promising and talented bands and artists like "Crowned Lands," "AVKRVST," "Lars Fredrik Fr°islie," and "Tritop." However, none have impressed me as much as "The Anchoret" with their release, "It All Began with Loneliness."

What sets this album apart is its unique blend of melodic and experimental passages, incorporating sax, flutes, and clarinet seamlessly into the songs without sacrificing the genre's typical heaviness and aggression. Figuring out The Anchoret's main influences has been a challenge for me, as some tracks like "A Dead Man," "Buried," and "All Turns to Clay" remind me of Dream Theater, Riverside, and Opeth, but the majority, especially the instrumental sections, have an eclectic mix of elements reminiscent of King Crimson, Motorpsycho, Gentle Giant, and Steven Wilson's "The Raven That Refused to Sing."

One of the album's strongest points is its cohesiveness. Every song flows magnificently into the next, and the overall length of about 60 minutes is perfect to fully appreciate the talent and musicianship that The Anchoret brings to the table. While all members shine throughout the record, James Christopher Knoerl's drumming and Sylvain Auclair's vocals stand out and deserve special recognition.

"It All Began with Loneliness" breaks away from the repetitive and stagnant tendencies that sometimes plague the prog metal scene, offering a fresh and innovative approach. The Anchoret has proven that it is possible to bring new ideas and imagination to the genre, and that is why I consider this album a masterpiece of progressive metal music (5/5 stars).

Top 3 songs: - Someone Listening (8:05) - Forsaken (7:26) - Stay (7:00)

Thanks to necrotica for the artist addition.

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