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Hope driven warfare from Syria - 80%

kluseba, May 27th, 2014

Anarchadia is a progressive thrash metal band from Damascus, Syria that was formed only three years ago and already came around with a first full length release entitled „Let Us All Unite“ last year. Let's take the time to congratulate the band that has found the strength to form a band after a tumultous Arab Spring and an ongoing Syrian civil war opposing the governement helped by Hezbollah and the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, then the Syrian opposition supported by Mujahideen and Al-Qaeda and finally the Kurdish Supreme Committee as a third party. Instead of taking position for one or another party, the band's message is quite clear as they want to spread some hope and wish that all parties may come together and to an agreement. From that point of view, the intentions of these artists are not a far call from another excellent Oriental metal band called Orphaned Land who released its own stunning masterpiece last year.

When I first listened to the band's record, I though rather felt as if they were heading for the wrong direction. The music on here is dark, depressive and surely hard to digest. I'm not sure if this kind of music spreads any hope whatsoever but it may at least liberate people from frustration and show the world the ugly side of war in an artistic way. In comparison to this negative atmosphere on here, the legendary first EP by Iraqi Thrash Metal band Acrassicauda almost sounds like a fun ride.

The record by Anarchadia needed a few spins to grow on me and I finally started to dig the challenging and intellectual concept. The record kicks off with a very cool instrumental track entitled „Devolution“. You are immeditaley put into a brutal war scene and the sound of gunfire develops into an industrial metal driven tune with cold guitar riffs and clipped drum sounds. Especially the transitions from gunfire to an imaginative drum play is very well done in the opener that reminds me of bands such as Dagoba or Pantera as well. Don't expect any exotic Oriental folk sounds, this beast of an album only experiments in darker tones of Occidental metal standards.

What follows the promising opener is technically driven dystopian extreme thrash metal that should please to fans of bands like Nevermore or Voivod. On a positive side, the song writing is filled with progressive ideas, the guitar riffs are energizing and sharp and the overall atmosphere is a clear guiding line through the entire record. On a negative side, the drums sound a little bit noisy, thin and unnatural at times, the bass guitar lacks presence here and there and the vocals mostly remain in the death metal genre only which isn't my cup of tea. From that point of view, I should not only cite Voivod but also the French Canadian progressive death metal bands Martyr and Quo Vadis as references.

As positive surprises, I might cite the collaboration with Jon Schaffer of Iced Earth fame who adds some vocals to „True World Order“ that though reminds me of a great Nevermore song. The three instrumental tracks on the album are among the highlights and are not a far cry from the heavier works of progressive metal legends Dream Theater. My favourite instrumental track is clearly the closing title song „Let Us All Unite“ that sends shivers down my spine thanks to an intelligent use of a great speech from Charlie Chaplin's legendary movie „The Great Dictator“. A closer look on the lyrics of this song and any other song from this album in general is worth your time and attention to fully appreciate this release. That's why a physical copy might make more sense than a simple download or look on the Bandcamp site if English is not your mother's tongue or if you are not able to fully understand the lyrics.

On a side note, I would like to give you the advice to try out the track „Occupy The Wall“. In the beginning, I thought it was hard to get an access to the sophisticated material on here but after a while, this special song turned out to be the catchiest one on the album. It's a slow paced dystopian anthem that almost heads for a doom metal Inspiration. You won't get it out of your mind once you have digged it.

The six Syrian musicians really have a lot of talent and should get further attention for their great technical skills and their open-minded song writing. It's a true miracle that they have put out such a thought out metal release in times like these. Some things such as the use of the bass guitar, the limited vocals, the somewhat too challenging song writing and the production still have enough space to be developed but for a first album, this record is an atmospherically tense, lyrically authentic and musically well executed progressive extreme metal release. Support this exotic band and be part of the more and more expanding metal globalization. I hope that this band may get the same credit as Acrassicauda a few years ago and that the brutal civil war in their country might soon come to an acceptable end for each party.

Originally written for The Metal Observer