Sunday, May 28, 2023

Minneriket - Anima Solis (2018)

If I didn't know better, and saw only this raven-haired beauty hanging in her corset, I'd have thought that Minnerket went full out Goth or something, but Anima Solis is instead another incremental evolution of the industrial/ambient black metal style that was started on Vargtimen. If anything, this album is even more accessible than the sophomore, but probably only because it is better produced and somewhat stricken through with more traditional black metal concepts in its construction. There is still that element of edgy, mechanistic-driven noise, the vocals are quite grimy and hostile, and plenty of the guitars produce a splatter of sinister, dissonant, droning lines above the central thrust of the beats, but it's a fraction easier on the ears.

It's also very weird, with a fair dynamic range between cuts, and arguably as experimental as anything the guy has written before. Take "When Life Gets Sick the Dead Grow Strong" with its weird, broken industrial rhythms, constant atmospheric roiling and trolling, and some of the most impish vocals he has committed to an album yet. Evil shit, and he gets the vocals to sound even more ridiculous on other tunes like "Between Infinity and Melancholy" with its cacophony of industrial clatter, or "I Am the Serpent Son" and its dash between gruesome, protracted growls and a snarl so ludicrous it sounds like its being performed by small, wounded mammals. I don't want to accuse the album of having a sense of humor, but it's certainly willing to go as far over the top as needed to make the listener lose his/her nerve.

It's pretty good, though, I mean there aren't really enough of these sorts of experimental and industrial black metal spinoffs out there, or at least not as weirdly absorbing as this one. Just when you think you've got it figure out, then he gets you with the hugely atmospheric "Alle hjerter banker ei" and its deep, narrative vocals and dreamy, dissonant guitars. This is weirdly creative, terrifying stuff, though it runs the risk of coming off a bit too childish or churlish when it goes full into its zanier passages.

Verdict: Win [7.5/10]

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