Anata The Conductor's Departure

Following up the highly-acclaimed Under a Stone with No Inscription was no easy task, but it’s fair to say Anata have at least met the bar they set for themselves. Not quite as crushing as the aforementioned work, Anata have opted for a slightly more polished, melodic sheen this time around, perfectly complemented by the natural, proportionate mix. Drummer Conny Pettersson’s performance is dizzying, making full usage of his clear, authentic drum sound by performing fills worthy of Gene Krupa. While not short on hooks, the band are at their best when delivering the speed and crunch, which makes The Conductor’s Departure a slightly less immediate release than its predecessor, although it arguably holds up more to repeat listens. Anata have certainly come along way from their self-described "Morbid Angel meets At the Gates” sound — while not besting Slaughter of the Soul’s staying power and wide-ranging influence, Anata have inarguably produced records consistently stronger than Morbid Angel’s post-David Vincent output. Layers of guitar harmonies and subtle arrangements abound — what the band have lost in power they have certainly re-appropriated towards giving their sound as much depth as possible. Possibly the technical death metal album of the year, and likely not the last we’ll hear from the genre’s current flagship act. (Earache)