Quispamsis, NB trio Anthesis are impossible to categorize into one genre. Their innovative approach includes a variety of divergent styles, from visceral grind and hardcore punk to harsh noise rock and crushing, doom-laden sludge. Yet it all comes together to create a cohesive sound on their latest release, The Age of Self. The new album follows several EPs and splits, and marks the band's first full-length in over seven years (since 2010's Surface and the Sky).
The Age of Self starts off with dissonant tones and abrasive plodding on "The Path to Enlightenment," which establishes the album's dismal atmosphere. Tracks like "False Content," "Where's the Dignity?" and "Decay.Disgust" are blasts of grindcore ferocity, featuring techy, angular guitar work and unconventional structures. "Empty Vessels" and "Reunion" showcase immensely heavy sludge grooves that are mixed with discordant noise.
"The Following" brings the album back full circle, finishing on an overwhelming bleak note with dark, trudging rhythms and remarkably intense, harsh vocals. Although the different styles evoke a sense of chaos, The Age of Self is surprisingly focused. It's a solid, powerful album throughout, and the best material from Anthesis to date. (Ancient Temple Recordings)