Sound — 9
Anterior is a band new to the modern metal community, and by the sound of this, their debut album, they're gonna set it's ass on fire. Their sound fits well into the metal core genre while still maintaining a sense of uniqueness. In short, they are instantly identifiable in a genre that has become overcrowded and underrated. Each instrument holds its own and has something to add to the sound as a whole. Sustained double base runs kick in at the perfect times, harmonized guitars create melodic and energetic tone reminiscent of bands like iron maiden and judas priest, and the bass rhythmically defibrillates your heart to make sure the heaviest portions don't put you in the ground. In my own personal opinion the guitar solos are the most predominant aspects of this album. Nearly every song has an incredible solo (This being a guitar website, I feel I can go into detail on this aspect/opinion). From the melodic solo's to the the most extreme shred solo's, a unique sound and depiction of skill is presented. Some perfect examples of this are the solo's in "Dead Divine" and "Seraph". Dead Divine flows surreally into a melodic solo from a pounding chorus segment and then builds up again to an incredible sweeping run that leads into a brilliantly constructed shred solo. As for Seraph, it may not be the fastest solo on the album but its scale degree intervals and intelligent use of bends display the mind of either a brilliant music theorist or persistent experimentalist. Striking as the solo's may be the harmonizing of the guitars has an equally defining sound. "Human Hive" has the most effective medium for displaying this, the 20 second harmonized sweeping solo interlude is... well... impressive would be an understatement. They do also implant some acoustic work into the album, mainly the acoustic instrumental track "Stir of Echoes". Semi-spanish style acoustic guitars over (what sounds like) synthesized stringed orchestral instruments, work to break up the pace of the album without disrupting it. The track is a exceptional example of a great metal band's ability to write within a different genre and playing style.
Lyrics — 8
Luke Davies' voice is one of the most central and powerful driving forces behind this album. He is screaming for nearly the entire album, with the exception of the occasional two second growl or foreboding speaking segment. Fans of the genre can, with relative ease, understand most of what he's saying. However, anyone new to the genre won't understand a word, save for recognizing track titles like "The Silent Divide". The words themselves are average metal lyrics in terms of focus and complexity; They are all surrounding dark themes, and the vocabulary is a lot smarter than your average pop song. What I find somewhat personally disappointing, is the most intelligently written lines are forebodingly spoken at the beginning of "Dead Divine", and are barely comprehendible. The lines I'm referring to are "The mute voice of reason, Whispered softly into the, Deaf ears of insanity, A dark cloud, Swallows a midday sky, As I sat here dressed in divinity" What does stand out in terms of the singing is the tone, passion, and energy with which Davies screams each word. I dare you to try not to crack a little smile or start to bang your head as Davies screams at the opening of "Days of Deliverance".
Overall Impression — 9
I've heard a lot of comparisons of Anterior to another metal band, Trivium. As a fan of both these bands I can say that they do display some similarities, and if you like one of them you will most likely like the other, but by no means are they exactly the same. Matt Heafy (singer/guitarist for trivium) and Luke Davies do have similar screaming styles. However Heafy's style has a little deeper tone to it while Davies' is brighter and has more treble. This can be said for the instruments as well, Anteriors guitar tone is a little brighter with a little more treble and gain/overdrive. Still it is hard to compare the two, as Trivium has four studio albums released to date, This Age of Silence is all we have heard of Anterior thus far... but we got an ear full. It would be exceedingly difficult for me to pick a favorite song off the album but at this current point in time I believe it would be Dead Divine. As a guitar player, the solo left me stupefied and the riffs and melodic octave power chord tones jumped out at me more than in most of the other tracks. I have a personal opinion that certain albums you simply cannot buy off itunes or similar services. You need to own the album in its true physical manifestation, albums like Megadeth's Peace sells & Rust in Peace, Metallica's Kill em' All & Master of Puppets, and Guns n' Roses Appetite For Destruction. I feel This Age of Silence is one of those albums, it is a pillar constructed of sound and powerful emotion... plus it'll blow your b*lls off.