No one starts a one-man black metal project for the “likes” or “at-a-boys.” You do it because you have something horrible inside you that needs to be unleashed.
A bottomless hunger that can not be sated. A ravaging will that twists and strains against its chains until they turn to bits of tinsel. A fire in one’s soul that grows hotter the more dirt that is piled on top to smother it.
If you were ever curious about what monsters lurked in a musician’s slime-lacquered head-cave, a solo black metal album will do a suitable job of forcing these tumorous brutes and malformed offspring to the surface, and all for your horror and vindication.
Annihilus is the name of the new virtue annihilating campaign embarked on by Chicago-based multi-instrumentalist Luca Cimarusti. Cimarusti also plays drums in the bleak, drone, and post-punk group Luggage, as well as lending his talents to the DIY dirt-rock of Heavy Times.
Even with the force with which he applies himself to these other endeavors, Cimarusti apparently still has need to purge bile from the sacks of his spleen, and the resulting spray of emotional effluent has congealed into a record he’s crowned Ghanima (the word for the “spoils of war,” in the language the Fremen from Frank Herbert’s Dune).
Judging by the name of his album, you can gather one thing that Cimarusti has in common with just about every other individual who starts a single-member black metal band. He’s a huge nerd. Although, Cimarusti-specific interests in nerdom lean more towards the urban and dystopic, as opposed to the high fantasy and occult obsessions within which early black metal tended to be subsumed.
He’s also apparently a huge comic book guy, and judging from everything that can be gathered from his album and its ephemera, I’d say he’s a big fan of Daredevil, Moon Knight, and the Punisher. I only bring this up because I think his music would sound awesome blasting in the background while these heroes (and anti-hero) tangle with Bullseye or Crossbones in a collapsed section of a municipal sewer.
So, what are the sounds and sensations of Ghanima? I’m so glad you asked. Cimarusti’s Annihilus walks a ghastly tightrope act between the noisecore and ambient black metal of Xasthur, with relatively high production values (for this style of metal) and a rolling variety of forlornness crust punk ‘n roll a la Cherubs.
However, what separates Annihilus from other bands who may be slithering through this same trench of tainted sound is the measure of control that Cimarusti exhibits over the composition of these mixes.
Carried over from the oppressive constructionism of his other band, Luggage, is the sense that there is a human mind consciously counting every beat and molding the feedback of each guitar stroke with meticulous and maniacal purpose. Controlled chaos as a reflection of the concrete jungles of the midwest. The album doesn’t leave all that much up to chance, a fact that adds to the disturbing sense that some great intelligence is minding you while you listen to it. A great red-eye in the distance, barring down upon you with its unblinking judgment.
This oppressive quality of Ghanima is a grand reminder of the imbalances of the society we live in, and that to the man who controls that great red eye, sitting in his tower far away, to him shall flow the meek’s reward. The spoils of a war he has waged against the world. Ghanima is a token of weighty awareness that we all live in a desert of someone else’s design.