Encapsulating an album in a tidy sentence can be an extremely frustrating task. In the case of Anguish, it's easy. This is heavy doom metal; think the melodies of Candlemass with tasteful double-kicks fronted by a growler similar to latter-day Quorthon. The musical evolution from their full-length 2012 debut Through the Archdemon's Head is evident, as the heavier elements have been beefed up, the production is slicker and the riffs are bigger. All told, this will likely be the best album in the subgenre, and one of the best of metal, in 2014.

Anguish hail from Uppsala, Sweden, and have been prolific since their inception in 2007. On their debut full-length, it was obvious the band had tapped into something unique, despite several elements not quite yet gelling. Mountain makes it clear they've been jamming incessantly and consciously evolving as songwriters. Here, the dynamics are palatable, as tracks like "Stir Up the Demon" demonstrate slow-fast, quiet-loud dynamics, shifting away from the tendency of earlier records to lack differentiation. "The Woven Shield" features that in spades, with a bone chilling atmospheric segment artfully placed in the latter half of the song. Overall, growler J. Dee is better mixed, his peculiar frog-like growl perched above the mix, but never overpowering. Rather than harping on the stories of Lovecraft, Moorcock, Tolkien, Crowley, Howard and LeVay, Dee howls the handcrafted mythology of the Chaos Judge, Ancient Ones and the goddess Siugnah.

Combined, it results in an album that will undoubtedly be frustratingly underrated, but regardless a pleasure for those lucky enough to be exposed to it. (Dark Descent)
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