Antropomorphia – “Merciless Savagery”

Antropomorphia – “Merciless Savagery” (Metal Blade Records)
Battle Helm Rating
‘…we paint with a dark pallet but we paint with lots of shades of darkness..’. Indeed, this 5th full length release from Dutch nekromantiks Antropomorphia continues the evolution from its raw predecessor “Sermon ov Wrath”, being darker, heavier and definitely incorporating more catchy hooks and grooves – while being still as punishing! Founded in the late 80s by vocalist / guitarist Ferry Damen and drummer Marco Stubbe, with early Celtic Frost influences that later progressed into early Swe-deth like Grave, more recently Antropomorphia have evolved into an extreme band incorporating blackish elements, with this 5th album even moving away from the gore theme to incorporate more personal material. Either way, “Merciless Savagery” is a very stylish album that indeed draws from all of the band’s past, be it in Damen’s dark drawls and bestial roars, to the classic whirring guitars unleashing chiming melodies on 9 decadent tracks that also feature guest vocals from Farida Lemouchi (The Devil’s Blood, Molasses), along with some suave orchestrations to create a powerful atmosphere whose darkness is omnipresent throughout this entire release! Opening bombastically amid Stubbe’s crashing drums, ‘Requiem Diabolica’ soon evolves into a macabre concerto  thanks to the rich twin guitars of Damen and Jos van den Brand bringing grimness through their wickedly catchy whirring riffola and neo classical breaks that completely racks your soul through expert variations in the tempo. With typically cold, bleak riffing ‘Apocalyptic Scourge’ doesn’t waste any time in being the shortest song here at just over 2 minutes, but boy, does it kick thanks to Stubbe’s relentless drumming driving the intensity over which Damen’s slow, contrasting drawls work to create the devastation that you can revel in! Propelled by all the instruments, ‘Luciferian Tempest’ is an overpowering wall of sound from savage slashing guitars and plenty of splash cymbals that just chunders into your mind and body, graced here and there by subtle melodies just to maintain your sanity in time for the halfway ambient bliss of Lemouchi’s femme touch with Damen hoarsely drawling in the background – fantastic! Marking the 10th anniversary of their reunion, Antropomorphia have delivered an extreme metal opus that more than maintains the high standards, and in actual fact, goes a lot further……
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