Saturday, September 21, 2013

Anacondas-Sub Contra Blues

Prosthetic Records

As the artwork for Anacondas' first full-length album brings about feelings of sorrow and loss in me it's only fitting that the music found within  "Sub Contra Blues" is dark and cold. "Progressive post-metal grunge sludge" is one way to look at it, but considering the wide range of influences present here (everything from the likes of Cave-In and Meshuggah to Seattle bands like Green River, Soundgarden and Alice In Chains) even that tag might not be enough to cover everything for this young, Brighton-based band and their slowly creeping album of doom, darkness, despair and dread. Still, it's a close enough description as to what awaits the listener come October 10th when this album is set to be released. But, while the band itself  might be new to the scene, having only formed back in 2010, the musicians involved here are most certainly not. It would be the demise of  the English band Johnny Truant that would lead to the fittingly-named Anacondas (as their music feels at times as if it is slowly wrapping itself around you with the intent to kill and then devour you) and the birth of "Sub Contra Blues". Both Stuart Hunter (guitars) and his brother James Hunter (bass) played in Johnny Truant, but while Johnny Truant was all about metalcore, and decent-enough metalcore at that, the brother's new act is more about slowly crushing the listener with doom-covered post-metal then killing them quickly with the fury of metallic hardcore. Joining the brothers in Anacondas is their friend Tim Newman who, in addition to playing drums, shares vocal duties with the Hunter boys. This three-pronged vocal attack really adds to the album's delightfully dizzying delivery (try to say that a couple of times fast!). And while the album does approach things in down-turned/down-tuned fashion there are still times on this release where you pick up on the groove that these three try to hide away. So yes, this power-trio might be filled with more then their fair-share of angst and yes, this album might be about as cheerful as a rain-soaked funeral, but it still knows how to spring to life when the source material calls for it. Or at least they "spring to life" sort of like the dead in any of Romero's zombie flicks! Oh, lest I forget, it's worth mentioning that the material on hand here likely came from self-recordings, as that's definitely the picture that this album's promo material paints, but that in no way seems to effect the overall feel of  "Sub Contra Blues". Part of that has to do with the fact that the band was able to get famed British producer Russ Russell (Napalm Death) to come in and master the sessions. His hands helped shape the sound of Anacondas and with this being only album number one for this power trio it's a damn fine start to what will hopefully be (if there's any justice to be found in the the heavy metal universe) a long career for this bunch.

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