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Excellent carnal black metal - 88%

Noktorn, May 27th, 2008

Animus Mortis plays a somewhat unique and enjoyable style of black metal; they have a lot of aggression but also that Xasthur type guitar-wall going on, so it's sort of like watching a murder from far away through a thick, dark veil of fog. It's murky and indistinct but not really ambient and hypnotic; it conjures a more active and less static atmosphere than a lot of other black metal artists. This blend of active versus passive actually adds a real tension and intensity to music that would otherwise just be straightforward black metal.

'Thresholds Of Insanity' is a compilation of the band's first demo and a couple tracks from the 'Nameless Grave' 3-way split, but it all sounds pretty coherent and could be easily passed off as a straight EP. Two of the tracks are droning ambient, which actually fits well in the morass of dark, violent black metal, without seeming amateurish like a great deal of such attempts do. The emphasis is certainly on the metal though, and it's great black metal all around. The cloudy production does a lot to increase the power of this music, genuinely adding a lot of misanthropy and evil to the overall sound. Rarely do you hear black metal as malevolent as this, nor executed as well. On a musical front, Animus Mortis is a very strong contender for top traditional black metal artist in Brazil. Everything is reverb-drenched and swirling, taking emphasis away from individual riffs and putting it on a holistic sound. The riffs, though, are slowly shifting and subtly melodic, while the buried drums quickly thrum away with an ambient texture of blast beats and double bass, complemented by vocals which only pop out of the production occasionally for a gurgling shriek. Tempo changes occur occasionally, dropping off into a midpaced plod, but by far the majority of the music on this disc is of the fast and violent variety.

If this were a contest to see which black metal band has the best production, Animus Mortis would probably be the reigning champion, but taking all things into account, they're merely very, very good. I'm interested in hearing the full-length the band has released just this year; if this compilation is any indicator of quality, it should be even more excellent than these early efforts.