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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This should be the blueprint to melodic death metal., 8 Aug 2009
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Transcendence (Adelaide,South Australia) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Conductor'S Departure (Audio CD)
Over the years, Scandinavia has brought many revered metal acts to the world like the mighty, Nightwish, In Flames, Dark Tranquillity, Opeth, and Amorphis to name just a few. Adding to this new-found glory and on a much lesser scale are Sweden's Anata, who for the most part during their career have forged ahead with their craft by releasing four full length albums to their credit. Being somewhat unfamiliar with Anata's music, I purchased `The Conductors Departure' on the recommendation of a friend, who offered a straightforward analogy that they were the death metal equivalent of Dream Theater and this was merely from a technical standpoint as well as the odd time-signatures. Anata do play an amalgam of technically intricate, yet melodic death metal that is focussed more on melody than speed. Upon the first few listens to `The Conductors Departure', I was closely reminded of the style of two of America's finest death metal exponents, Cynic and Atheist.

Anata does have many close similarities to both Cynic and Atheist, as all three bands do employ counterpoints to their music. A counterpoint is when the two guitars or bass are rarely playing along the same lines as one another, but still sound harmonious when played simultaneously. Adding to this, all three bands incorporate subtle jazz influences, which as an avid metal listener, I fully appreciate when song writers leapfrog across different genres by adding plenty of diversity to their music. Let us cut to the chase and state from the onset that the guitar work of Fredrik Schälin and Andreas Allenmark is stunning. Two inspirational guitarists that have captured my imagination wholly, as they build heavily upon one monstrous riff after another by incorporating plenty of melody and passion to the music. Besides the riffing that is paramount to the vibe of `The Conductors Departure', there are some attention grabbing solos from Schälin and Allenmark on almost all of the tracks.

Schälin also doubles up on vocals and his voice is what one would expect from a band of this calibre, nothing too exceptional, as he closely remains in gruff/throaty territory for the entirety of the album. Despite the hugely talented guitar duo of Schälin and Allenmark, the player that steals the show for me has to be drummer Conny Pettersson. Pettersson is right up there delivering one magical blast beat after another and his timekeeping is truly remarkable. The control between his feet and hands is balanced precisely without one part of his playing becoming too over bearing, which can be the case in question with many death metal drummers - being a tad foot heavy when it comes to the double bass drum! I am not too sure of Pettersson's credentials, but what is amazing is the fact he hasn't taken the leap into the major league by hooking up with an accomplished and well-marketed band - this just eludes me as his talent is immeasurable. After listening closely to his style of playing he does remind me of one of my favourite death metal drummers that is, Daniel Erlandsson, from Arch Enemy.

Pettersson's partner in rhythm is bassist Henrik Drake, who adds the sonic back line and gives Pettersson plenty of room to manoeuvre around in with his complex tempo changes and different rhythm patterns. Drake's bass in very audible in the mix as he chops, changes and ducks in and out of drum and guitar passages as he challenges them all the time. What would an album be like without any standout tracks? The standout tracks would have to be the clichéd, `Cold heart forged in Hell', which starts relatively slow and builds up after a couple of seconds then into a great sounding lead break. The song travels through different landscapes with Pettersson's drumming showing his dexterity as the beat chops and changes in and out of different tempos. `I Would Dream of Blood' starts slow with all the instruments coming to the forefront, before the song picks up with some very melodic and rather haunting guitar work - nice track nonetheless.

`The Conductors Departure' is my favourite and highlights the strong song writing ability of Anata as they visit different emotions, feelings and tempos. It starts off with a complicated intro, with the main riff having an ominous Tony Iommi (Black Sabbath) style stamped all over it. The track allows each musician to stretch their legs musically and displays how individually talented each player really is. `The Great Juggler' has a great recurring hook that will pull you deep into your subconscious and this is a great representation of Anata's bizarre time signatures and counterpoints. What I have enjoyed mostly with the music of Anata is that you don't have to be ultra heavy and brutal to get the message across. The music of Anata, like most death metal, is not an easy listening experience and the best way forward with `The Conductors Departure' is to give this album multiple listens to fully appreciate the complexities of the music. This comes highly recommended if you like your death metal brutal, yet refined, as Anata are one classy Swedish act.
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The Conductor'S Departure
The Conductor'S Departure by Anata (Audio CD - 2006)
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