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Researching the internet for a little history on bands can be very confusing; there is a Turkish 'alternative rock' band with the same name as Anima for instance, which caused mild amusement. Still, with slight perseverance, I finally found what I needed to understand the basics of who Anima are, without having to resort to their label's puff-pieces. Well, to be concise, they're German, used to be called Today Heavens Dying, and play something called 'deathcore'. I usually avoid bands whose genre label happens to contain '-core'. It's just an instant 'run away' type of turn-off. However, I've also learned that genres are often misleading and, more so, somewhat unfair. Not knowing much about their contemporaries (The Red Chord, Whitechapel, etc - or so I'm told), I also have nothing to compare this band with. Certainly some people have written them off as further stagnating an already declining genre. Yet, as Slipknot recently proved, affiliation to a particular genre does not necessarily stunt your creativity or progression. In fact in their case, the genre association is erroneous in the first place; perhaps too, this is the case with Anima. After all, lazy journalism has created untold worthless pigeon-holes, which allows me consider this to be a death metal album from hereon. So it is with fresh ears, and a memory block of what 'deathcore' is/was/ought to be, I dive head-first into 'Behind The Mask', the first track from 'The Daily Grind' (not sure about that title fellas). This is the second time recently I've had to mentally refrain from shouting out along with the songs in my lunch-break at work. And that's a fantastic situation to be in; I was grabbed instantly by the ferocity. We have a very Swedish sounding rhythm section, often at high-tempos, with crushing breakdowns to add some furious chugging. But it's not all template-following; 'Isolated' has a very unusual time-signature, which sparked further interest. Vocalist Robert Horn alternates between low death growls and higher register (almost) black-inspired shrieks. The twin guitars of Steven Holl & Andre Steinmann are well executed and inventive. The only downsides being that the bass work of Justin Schuler is often buried in the otherwise flawless production and mix, and the drum work of Benjamin Kuhnemund could be a little less repetitive with blast-beating. But these are minor quibbles. So then, death metal, or death-blackened-thrash-yadda-yadda-core aside, I strongly advise you to throw aside notions of scene-following/avoiding and just take a risk with some well-executed 'metal'. It'll rock your fucking socks off.
Metal Blade Records
Review by Steve Cowan
25th August 2008
1) Behind The Mask
2) There Is Something Vicious
3) Sitting In The Wardrobe
4) The Daily Grind
5) Dismembered
6) A Wrong Person To Trust In
7) The Interference
8) Isolated
9) Ravaged By Disease
"...a very Swedish sounding rhythm section, often at high-tempos, with crushing breakdowns to add some furious chugging."