After looking at the track titles and observing all of the weird runes, sigils and seals on the packaging, it is quite clear that this disc from the international collective is a recorded ritual of some sorts. Nothing that I recall visited me in the stock room while I was listening to the disc and stacking boxes, but something sure could have been summoned to say “hello” if it had wanted to. I would suppose that the dust of the place was a factor, as I often sneeze in there due to the amount of junk that is being put away for next year.
The album begins with “Composition For The Shadow Self” which immediately reminds me of the Persona series from the title. Though the song is much different, as it opens with bells, industrial hymns and what can sound like death metal growls. This is a bit unusual for this genre as I mostly hear screams and shouts, but never actual vocal gravel. If I were to geek out on the ominousness of it, I’d say it was “the most badass sounding thing ever” but let’s suffice it to say that we’re more or less getting what feels like a demonic chant with a slight voice changing effect that makes it sound as if the Goetia were personally involved. Who knows? They may have been. I wasn’t there. “Naamah” seems to continue the industrial effort of the previous with a slight hum in the background, while it sounds like some sort of jingling metal or cymbal taps are being utilized. Demonic vocals soon appear and in very much the same chants as the previous. And nope, I don’t unfortunately see anything behind me after playing this.”Blameless” adds unexpected bass to the performance, almost bringing in a sort of metal atmosphere. The industrial sections are still piled on rather thick, so it never goes into a full-on metal experience, almost coming off tribal.
Moving on, we have “Tabula Smaragdina” which features the female vocal chants of Delphine Banitz who sounds like she’s on top of an ominous hill where clouds begin to gather around her. It feels like the opening to a film or the soundtrack for a trailer. “Solemn Majesty” begins with what sounds like a monk’s chant, but later turns into the same kind of industrial doom with tribal influences that now adds a creepy organ section. On second thought, there might not be a voice changer utilized here and the frontman might really be that gurgly. The piece actually invokes a dance vibe, but only for a little while. Shame, I could definitely dance to that. The band’s namesake track comes next, and it starts off as the most euphoric and pleasant sounding piece on the disc until a few minutes pass and it become a fearsome mixture of tribal industrial and hefty growls. “Intermezzo For The Double-Wanded One” (whoever in the hell he is) feels like a misty science fiction inspired piece, perfect for a film. Next we have “Yaldabaoth Doxologia” which I can actually decipher in the clean, though digitized lines. The record is beginning to sound like a mix between occult ritual and Deadspace, which is just fine for me. In all honesty, this track is the most “badass sounding” piece since the album opener; although I haven’t really found a bad track on this album. The album closes with “The Seal” which only continues it’s awesomeness, adding a bit more power electronics into the mix which only enhances this Deadspace friendly atmosphere.
I stress that fans of extreme metal might actually find something in this and Anima Nostra are a great gateway into this genre for metal fans. As a matter of fact, some of the ideas utilized here have been featured on extreme metal albums, though in a less atmospheric sense. You may have heard several intros or interludes on those records that sound similar to this and at the same time might have been wondering if there are acts that purely create that kind of sound. In that regard, I have good news as Anima Nostra (despite sounding harmless) make some of the most ferocious industrial/power electronics that I’ve heard in this genre. It actually feels like a true mix of death/doom, power/electronics and industrial soundscapes. Without a doubt, this is one of the most pleasing albums I’ve heard on Malignant Records so far. The Grim Tower highly recommends Anima Nostra’s Atraments, as it just might be the one album with enough of a foothold in extreme metal to bring you into this level of atmospheric/industrial music.
(9 Tracks, 43:00)