10 Jan 2016

Damnum Animus: "Sanity: The Lies of the Father"

Stellar compositions of neoclassical under the sign of the black mark
America has made itself very noticable in these last years on the black metal scene. With bands like Absu, Ludicra, Leviathan and Xasthur, the Americans have proved their rightful place among the titans of black metal along with their European counterparts.

With no previous releases but this, "Sanity: The Lies of the Father", the latin-named band Damnum Animus debuts with sombre classically-inspired black metal. Though I use the term "black metal" loosely, as Damnum Animus doesn't use guitars at all, but instead replaces it with classical instruments such as violins and pianos. The distant haunting harsh vocals and the double kick drums are actually the only thing about this upcoming American band that makes it metal at all in terms of sound. The melodies and structures are where the real fun begins.

"The vocals are incredibly well produced and fit so well into the atmospheric experience of the EP."

With that out of the way, the vocal performance is amazing - Fitting for depressive black metal, this is an element that especially makes Damnum Animus stand out from the crowd. The vocals are incredibly well produced and fit so well into the atmospheric experience of the EP. The artist's skills as a vocalist aside, the programmed drums tend to become a little monotonous with the near constant pounding of double kicks, but in this line of music this is not necessarily irreversably bad or even uncommon. In a way it adds to the atmosphere and utter melancholy of the music, and depressive black metal - although I wouldn't necessarily refer to Damnum Animus as such in the strictest sense - isn't exactly known for great variety.

The classical instrumentation lies at the core of Damnum Animus' concept, but at times "Sanity" lacks the power and gritty contrast a distorted guitar would provide. What is striking about the debut EP is, as was previously hinted at, the chilling cold atmosphere, reminding me of forests covered in morning dew. The multitude of layers are in no small part instrumental (pun intended) in achieving this feel.

While neoclassical black metal certainly isn't untravelled lands, it surely isn't fully tried out, and I think this American one-man band does a lot to seek out the darker corners of the genre in most aspects. But with stale computer drums and an unvaried soundscape the atmosphere and feeling isn't achieved to its fullest.


Released in 2011 independently

Damnum Animus on BANDCAMP
Damnum Animus on FACEBOOK

What did you think about Damnum Animus' Sanity: The Lies of the Father?

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