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Anorexia Nervosa need no introduction - this is their last full-length album and it is for sure an impressive farewell. There are a lot of bands that release some good albums when they start their career, but they keep on regressing after that. Anorexia Nervosa was aging just like a fine wine. With every album they kept on making a lot of progress, proving they are indeed a great band.
I won't make this long. "Redemption Process" is like a wall of concrete that smashes into your face. A lot of symphonic black metal bands insert in their songs some tender passages, which is not the case of Anorexia Nervosa; every track on this album attacks fiercer and fiercer. This band is one of the most aggressive bands I've ever met, and this requires talent. What impresses me is their vocalist, Hreidmarr. Being a vocalist myself, I think Hreidmarr is not a human being. His range is incredible as well is the constant pressure of the pace of the music that doesn't leave him much to do than keep up. And he does it extremely well.
There are memorable songs on "Redemption Process" like "Worship Manifesto", ranging from raging orchestral arrangements to thunderous drumming and shattering screams delivered by Hreidmarr, to slower passages filled with recited lyrics in French, like he dark, fast marching in "Codex Veritas", a real "concrete wall" on this album, and last but not least, the masterpiece "Sacrament", a somehow little, slow-paced song.
The lyrics are based upon religion. In my opinion, they express the things that one needs to do in order to be delivered, of course seen as through the prism of godlessness and not necessarily Satanism. Every song presents one of this soul-saving actions.
"Redemption Process" is one of the greatest symphonic black metal albums ever released, and Anorexia Nervosa is a band that shall be missed so hard from the metal scene. For blazing orchestral arrangements, chaotic screams, and all in all, a "bleeding-ears" effect, give this album a listen. You will be surprised.
This was an album that signified an unwanted ending of a once great band from France. Even if I didn't like this album at first, I find it hard to get it out of my head; there is a constant feel of tragicness, tensions, drama, despair and some negative vibes surrounding these songs that is hard to explain, but I'll do my best.
If this really was meant to be Hreidmarr's final creative effort with the band, it's an elegant (just look at the cover art!) and brutal ending. And speaking of Hreidmarr, his voice and lyrics do add a lot to the whole atmosphere. I think that the experimentation and 10 years of screaming had a great impact on his vocals and by now has clearly a weakened voice, mostly sounding like a hardcore singer trying black metal screams, shrieks, and some growls. Sometimes his results are awful (like in Stabat Mater Dolorosa '04 and Worship Manifesto) but sometimes he is awesome (like in Codex Veritas and The Sacrament): pure passion, despair, anger, epiphany (Antiferno - the clean vocals part), and sometimes he is just having fun (I Kill You).
The concept of the album is about redemption and converting to Christianity, but with a different perspective. Since I read about the Apocalypse (unfortunately :D), the obvious guess was that Hreidmarr spoke (or screamed) about forced, directly or by circumstance, conversion to Christianity after failure to destroy the light (The Shining), the stressing factor that is choosing between freedom on the defeated side (free people) and joining the victorious Christ (like some ass-kissing to spare his life or something like that - just my opinion), but still feeling betrayed because believing in a false icon (Antiferno; The Sister September a.k.a. THE Virgin 'Bloody' Mary), weighing the option by describing the sight of the victor's camp (Worship Manifesto), the "triumph parade" (Codex Veritas), and the defeated army that chose to surrender and convert (Amen - The Sacrament). It is a very tragic story, but one expressing mistrust and hate towards organized religion, but in a subtle way so that the band could afford to hire a choir (of course, Catholic) because there were no talented clean vocalists in the band.
Ok, so I have finished with the concept. Hopefully someone would have the patience to read my opinions about it because it was a tough guess. Now I will speak about the instrumentation.
The guitars are the most obvious instrument heard on the album due to the production, which kind of sucks because it overpowers the drums and keys (if you don't have good headphones and/or sound system). Also the songwriting in this chapter isn't top notch. The guitars are clearly the weakest point, but with the help of the awful production they sound very good; there is a heavy and trebly sound (very black metal, similar with the tone on Darkthrone's Under a Funeral Moon, but more upfront and louder). Great compositional skills are to be heard on The Shining (main riff), The Sister September (every part), Codex Veritas (every riff!!!), and Amen (main riff), with clever uses of power chords, tremolo, and palm muting. Also, there are some licks and melodies but very few and only used to signify the ending of a song part (usually it's around the middle of the song before the orchestration begins its solos).
The bass guitar is audible, but it just follows the guitars. Also, it has, like the guitars, a great amount of distortion. It's like hearing a symphonic version of Mayhem (just with an alive and healthy Dead on vocals and a less death metal influenced Euronymous on guitars).
The drums: well, the drummer has a lot of talent, but it's buried in the mix. Luckily, I've heard the previous albums, so I knew what to expect: fast double-bass, blast beats, abusive use of cymbals and, generally, very good rhythms. In short: a very good drummer and a very noisy one. Thumbs up for this guy!
Ahhhh! The keys! The best part of the review! If all classically trained musicians would use there talents on genres like black metal (besides prog-rock/metal), I think music, as a whole, would have a very different face! From the pompous introduction from the first track, the epicness of Antiferno, the sadness from The Sister, the grandiose atmosphere of Worship Manifesto, to the warlike playing of Codex Veritas and "march funebre"-like melodies of the final two tracks, you will find plenty of bitter-sweet moments of talent and a mix of feelings of sadness, adrenaline pumping in your veins, hate, anger, but also some smiling because it really leaves a mark on you! While it isn't as influential as, let's say Transylvanian Hunger, it has a very sophisticated way of manipulating your feelings and moods.
Before I end the review, I would like to say something about the bonus tracks (the ones that I possess): Les Tzars is about the October coup d'etat (6th fucking November!!!, but it's The October Revolution - just to piss off some leftists, if there are any here) and it's a quite happy song, although that historic episode left JUST a few tens of millions dead or almost dead. It's like a hippy song about the Holocaust or the Gulag! Fortunately, Anorexia pours enough aggression in it, so that it doesn't sound that ridiculous.
Stabat Mater Dolorosa '04 is worse than the original, which is not great from the start, because it was meant as a live song, not a studio one. Also, the re-recorded version has a worse production and it is very sloppy played.
I Kill You it's another happy song, but very aggressive. The band used the same formula as in the case of covering Judas Priest: a short introduction by a single musician (in this case, Hreidmarr), the sudden beginning (a wall of violent noise :D), the fast pacing, the middle part, which is just the same as the original, albeit with faster tempo and without the solo, and the ending with gang screaming the song title, which is also the chorus. A minus for the lack of originality, although the formula is cool!
That's about it! I end my review by saying that it is a must heard, if not a must owned. I wish that at least a tenth of the people living on this fucked up planet would hear this masterpiece that tends to disappear "buried by time and dust", but I guess the pop-crap "music" is much better than music actually written and worked on. I will never understand how a sophisticated and elegant product can be overlooked in favor of kitsch! This is one of the reasons that talented bands, like Anorexia split up - an unwanted split up but, if you want to survive and do things the right way, you must make compromises. Unfortunately...
It bothers me when I have to force myself to keep listening to an album that I'd rather just ignore. Sadly, half way through Codex/Veritas, this became the case.
The first three songs are an absolute blast to listen to. The symphonic elements are incorporated well, without being ostentatious and egocentric. The vocals do their bit: they are far from great, but they certainly are not a hindrance to the music. The guitars and drums buzz and blast along respectively, and the tempo is nice and speedy. These last aspects turn very quickly into negatives when, with the exception of the marvelous Sister September, they don't change.
The emotionless speed of the sad majority of this album is so boring because it relays the same message as the first two songs over and over again, but without the excitement. The relentlessly blasting drums do absolutely nothing to advance the music, instead making it stagnant and annoying, and the symphonic incorporations behave much in the same way. Even some overpoweringly high-in-the-mix symphonic stuff would benefit this album if for no other reason than variety.
Despite this perpetual, albeit fast, monotony, the production/musicianship is done pretty well and the instruments are played technically well. I would disagree with the drummer's excessive blasting and beg the vocalist for some more traditional black metal vocals as accents, but these are issues of taste, not production or musicianship, so I have to give it a high score there.
On a lighter note, this album manages to surpass anything AN has done since Drudenhaus. While not perfect, this still blows New Obscurantis Order out of the water in any category and is not particularly wretched for symphonic(ish) black metal nowadays.
I would not recommend this to anyone really, only advise anyone into true black metal to avoid it religiously. The album does not effectively function as a whole, so I feel justified in taking the good songs and ignoring the rest. If this is your kind of thing, check out The Shining, Antinferno, and Sister September: they are certainly worth a listen.
Anorexia Nervosa was one of those bands that I was hesitant about listening to. Whenever I hear anyone say something about melodic/symphonic black metal, I am usually skeptical. About ninety percent of these bands try too hard or not hard enough. One classic example of trying too hard is Dimmu Borgir. One example of not trying hard enough would be Nokturnal Mortum. Anorexia Nervosa has succeeded in some of these areas.
The vocals are something that could've been different. It sounds as if the vocalist is not even trying. He's just randomly shouting, not even screaming, the lyrics. There has been some comparison made to Dani Filth, but that is not entirely accurate. Filth, as annoying as his vocals may be, at least screams and occasionally growls. Anorexia Nervosa doesn't even do that. On the positive side, the lack of "grim, nekro" screams allows the listener to interpret the extremely well-done lyrics.
The guitar and bass riffs are everything that any metalhead could want. They fit the concept of the album perfectly. They are down-tuned, aggressive, and at times melodic and even depressing. When they are added with the keyboards, they are given that extra edge that they need. I think that the guitars and bass are what really bring out the concept of this entire album. They fit the proposed atmosphere to each song.
The drums don't really come out at all. It is obvious that there are drums there, but they are taken over by the guitars and vocals. Whenever the rare double bass kicks in, the guitars are playing along with it, so it's nearly impossible to fully appreciate their drummer's talent, or lack of talent. I honestly cannot say whether or not the drums are good or bad because I could barely make them out.
The most significant aspect of this album is the use of keyboards and choir. They are very good when they are used in the right spots. There were some parts in the music in which the beautiful keyboard parts are being cloaked by the heavy guitars and mediocre vocals. "Antiferno" has some very beautiful keyboard parts, but the problem is that they are being played along with the guitars. Unless you have your speakers on a high volume, or if you have headphones, you cannot really hear them. On other areas, they add the extra ingridiant that makes for a good song. For example, the song "Worship Manifesto" would've been extremely weak if not for the keyboard emphasis on some of the riffs. In the overall scheme of things, the keyboard, choir, and orchestra add the right amount of emphasis, but there are some moments in which they are barely heard.
Overall, this is a good album. Anorexia Nervosa has accomplished the task of being one of the few melodic metal bands that could pull it off well. They have succeeded in creating a well-done concept album in which the music itself lines up with that concept.
First off: I am no CoF-Fanboy and I dislike Dimmu Borgir a lot. Well, maybe even more than that. But "Redemption Process" is one of the greatest pieces of music I ever had the pleasure to listen to. It is sad that M. Hreidmarr left the band after three great albums ("Drudenhaus" and "New Obsurantis Order" are also excelent, but I like "RP" most of them), but this way I will always remember him as one of the greatest Melo/Sympho-Black singers of all time.
Enough of those sermons, let's get on with the music, shall we? Allright. "Redemption Process" kicks off with the great "The Shining". Orchestral sounds build an intro to this song and then like a gunshot the guitars, drums and bass enter the fray. And from that point on you will notice how "full", how "complete" the music of Anorexia Nervosa sounds. The production is simply great, none of the instruments sounds too weak or too thin. Then Hreidmarr comes in with his unique screams. His voice works just great, be it when he shouts his soul out of his body or when he sings clean passages in french. Everything just fits in here.
The excellence continues with "Antiferno", a pretty harsh track with less orchestral elements than "The Shining" had. Hreidmarr once again shows what he's cappable of, so do all of the other band members. The guitar-riffs are simple but effective, the drumming fast, the bass a bit too far behind this "wall of sound", but you should still be able to feel it, even if you don't hear it. The song has some great breaks where everything just comes to a halt for one single moment and then starts again simultaneously. Very atmospheric and very gripping. Great.
The next song is my favourit of the album, "Sister September". Melancholic strings play a short introduction, bevor this midtempo-track starts with a nice opening riff. The verse is carried almost solely by Hreidmarrs voice, the chorus is once again a great piece of melodic darkened music. The lyrics may not be a bit repetitive after a while, but it's great to sing along.
"Worship Manifesto" sounds a bit pale after the great "Sister September", but this song also has it's good sites. There's a riff in the middle of this song that went straight in my ear and never really went out. Great performance by M. Bayle. Afterwards there's a very symphonic, atmospheric part where drums and guitar support Hreidmarrs clean vocals in french. The song climaxes again in a giant crescendo that leads to the final silence.
And to "Codex-Veritas", another pretty harsh song. The orchestral sound is pushed to the background a bit, so the guitar takes over this track. Hreidmarr has some great, memorable screamed lines in this song, some of them in latin. The instrumental part in the middle is placed very good, so one can breathe freely again. After a few french lyrics and another great musical climax, the song leads over to the second absolute high-point of this album...
"An Amen" could be called the "ballad" of this CD, but while looking at the harshness of some of the other tracks, you will figure out that this means nothing. It starts of with some xylophone-sounds that are immediately immitated by the guitar-riffing. Sounds really really great. This riff is also used over and over again for the chorus, a very epic and hymnic piece of music, while the verses are a bit thrashy, very straight foreward metal-stuff. Halfway through, a choire enters and makes this song something pretty special. The first time I listened to it, I just sat there, eyes wide open, chin dropped while the music faded.
So we allready arrived the final regular track that goes by the name "The Sacrament". The intro is a nice pounding keyboard/drums/bass-combo that immediately kicks your stomache, before guitars and M. Hreidmarrs vocals enter. This song is pretty midtempo. Once again a choire joins, but not that excessively as it was done in "An Amen". Hreidmarr screams and shouts his way through this track and so do the guitars. In the end there is a great duett between Hreidmarr and parts of the choire until the sound fades and the regular part of this disc comes to an end.
But that's not the point where I am finished, because there are two more great tracks. First is "Les Tzars", a cover of a song by french disco-pop-rock-whatever-band Indochine. The lyrics are completely in french, what I found very funny. The melody is pretty happy and Hreidmarrs screamed french vocals fit very well. There's not much to say about it. Usual Anorexia Nervosa stuff, but this time more happy than melancholic.
Theoretically now there's "Stabat Mater Dolorosa '04" following, but it was only released in Japan, so I have no idea how it sounds. The final song "I'll Kill You" (a cover of the song by X-Japan) also only appeared on the japanes version, but it can also be found on the "September EP" (which I own, so I can drop a few words). "I'll Kill You" may be the fastest song I've ever heared from Anorexia Nervosa. High-speed drumming and a nice riff cooperate perfectly with Hreidmarrs voice. The keyboard/orchestral-parts are shoved to the background (not necessaryly a bad thing) and the classic metal-lineup does a great performance of a very classic metal song. Thumbs up.
So Anorexia Nervosa is untrve Melo/Sympho-Black-crap? It is untrve, it is melodic, it is symphonic and it is pretty black. But it surely is no crap. "Redemption Process" is one of the greatest albums I have ever listened to. No flaws, just great music.
Standout tracks: Sister September, An Amen, The Shining, Les Tzars
It is a rare find, a perfect album. However, Anorexia Nervosa's "Redemption Process" is just that. Everything about the album glows with brilliance. Firstly, the production is immaculate: warm, full, rich, lush, and everything is mixed with unbelievable precision.
The drums sound like they could eat your alive, they sound as if they were recorded live: no triggered bullshit here. The kicks sound full of bass but are ultimately articulate and the snare sound is just right. The drum performance is absolutely incredible, from the opening track to the end of the album the performance never falls short and the rampage never ends. The vocals are euqally impressive and hellish, I have heard Dani Filth comparisons, please!!! These vocals are far beyond Dani; think of Shagrath from Dimmu Borgir with more balls and a third lung. I even enjoy the clean vocals, they have a very original sound and add to the overall atmosphere of the songs they pertain to. The lyrics are real, and deal with modern topics; there is even a semi-ballad "Sister September" which is definitely a stand-out track. The guitar sound is amongst one of the best ever recorded in my opinion. They sound huge, full, and punchy. The guitar performance is immaculate, simple and perfect. The guitarist plays intense riffs and very tasteful, elegant guitar melodies; not a note is misplaced and there are no showy, bullshit technics. Even the bass guitars sound good and the bassist knows his role as a bass player. The bass alternates between following the guitar and adding to the backbone of the drums which is what a solid bassist should do. The keyboards are for me, as a keyboard player, the real stand-out instrument on the album. The mix is perfect and they never fall to far back or take emphasis off the primary instruments. They add to the overall sound of the other instruments making them sound even better and adding an atmosphere that wraps around every fucking note played. Besides adding atmosphere and making things sound even more huge he also does some very impressive string passages. Listen to "Worship Manifesto" and listen to some of the incredible legato string runs he plays, every note flows together like water. This is a keyboardist who knows how to use his technical skill to add to the song and not his cock. Definitely, one of the most tasteful, elegant and skillfull keyboardist I have heard, probably THE most in black metal. He also produced the album which is a piece of artistry in itself as previoulsy stated.
The songs are structured immaculantely and, while being brutal, are very memorable. The keyboardist does some very good, and short, string interludes which never over do it or get boring.
Perfect production, perfect tone, perfect vocals, perfect lyrics and perfect songwriting. If you like good music, not just black metal, buy this album now and do yourself a favor.
Before I heard this CD I thought it would be something like Dimmu Borgir, but it wasn't. Not that I have anything against Dimmu Borgir, but i prefer "ordinary" Black Metal. But this CD didn't sound that melodic as Dimmu Borgir, more like ordinary Black Metal with some melodic parts and lots of orchestra stuff. In other words (my opinion), extremely good. I love the growls, really brutal/primitive/cool/powerful/whatever.
Here's a short review of every song on this CD:
It starts out with some cool choir-like thingy, and then bursts out in some heavy shit. Really intense and brutal song, and it's one of my favorites on this record. The only thing that's bad in this track is that almost in the middle of this song, it stops massacre my ears, and it changes the song to something more calm.
A really heavy and fast song with a really cool "melody". The growls in this song are excellent, really "screamy" and brutal. This is also a great track.
W...O....W...! This is so extremely good that I can't even describe it.
One of the weak tracks on this CD. Not so fast or heavy as the other songs, and it has lots of clean vocals (I don't think Hreidmarr's clean vocals is especially good). But it's still a good song, but nothing compared to the other.
It starts with some cool violin/trumpet thingy (I have absolutly no idea what it's called), and then hell breaks loose. Really fast, heavy, brutal and intense. This is my favorite song on this record after Sister September.
One of the slower and calmer tracks on this record, but it's still good.
Really good, this will be one of my favorite tracks. It's not really fast, but kind of melodic (not really).
Well, as you see (because of my lack of description on the last tracks i reviewed) Im starting to get tires of writing this review. Ok, so just a quick summary of this album:
+ Really fast and heavy
+ Cool growl
+ Black Metal-ish
- Boring clean vocals
- Very short cd
Anorexia Nervosa reminds me a bit of Cradle of Filth, but not in a bad way, because this is soooooo extremely much better than Cradle of Filth.
Well, that's everything from me. Have a good day... or something like that.