For 17 years, AntropomorphiA has been delighting listeners with their high quality death and black metal. The band returns with their new full length Merciless Savagery, a follow up to their 2017 release Sermon ov Wrath, and it delivers on the band’s high standard for chugging breakdowns, searing tremolo, and cutting riffs.
The guitar work in the Dutch outfit’s new album are nearly flawless over the entirety of this record, never faltering in their fast tremolo picking and more complex riffs. Furthermore, their tone is impeccable, especially the outro to “Cathedral ov Tombs.”
While I can’t say enough good things about the guitars, I do have some complaints about the drums. This is not to say that the drummer isn’t solid. His use of rudiments and technical triplets are some of his best moments, especially in the opening track. The accents in “Requiem Diabolica” between the heavier parts are compelling and satisfying.
But sometimes when he plays at half the speed of the relentless guitar work, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It just sort of begs for the drums to be at their fastest, like the blasts in “Apocalyptic Scourge” and “Womb ov Thorns,” they shine.
It isn’t just the drums that I feel sometimes lack. The vocals are their standard, uncreative growls that have not evolved much besides the addition of periodic delay. The bass does little more than bulk up the mix. But, in the end, this is guitar-centric metal music—the dissonant tremolo parts and palm-muted riffs give you want you want. They provide sometimes orchestral melody, heaviness, and the occasional shredding solo.
Merciless Savagery is composed carefully, with good variations in tempo and song structured. After barreling through a few tracks, songs begin to have slower introductions, bridges with interesting time signatures, and varying guitar tones.
The bridge in “Luciferian Tempest” is particularly great, with female chants, a tribal drum beat, and a perfect build-up. As the record continues and nears its close, the perfectly performed guitars don’t let up. You would be hard-pressed to find a single imperfection.
There are no problems with interesting song writing, the album’s structure, or its performances. Its melodies are founded, its riffs sometimes brutal and other times triumphant, and its structure leaves the listener wanting more, but I do wish that there were moments when the bass and vocals were highlighted. But if you are looking for endlessly satisfying tremolo melodies, heavy breakdowns, and classic guitar solos, you’re in for a real treat.