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Perfect; Cause Nothing Out There Really Is… - 100%

bayern, November 8th, 2018

This was the first Anata album I bumped into and I couldn’t help but marvel at the guys’ creativity and visionary flair, a hard-to-believe stance in the midst of the 00’s when the fan simply wasn’t prepared to be amazed, having already heard all that had to be heard. I certainly tracked down every other effort the guys had put together only to find out that regardless of how good all the three previous instalments were, they couldn’t quite hold a candle to this grandiosity.

Although the Swedish metal scene will largely remain synonymous with the Gothenburg sound, there was another stream that started running parallel to the latter over there, one that was much more engaging and more proficiently executed, requiring greater skills and vision, spearheaded by Theory in Practice and the act here, and later joined by other talents like Spawn of Possession, Sectu, Terminal Function, Soreption, Temisto, etc. A handsome bunch with each representative twisting the technical/progressive death metal perspective in their own way, surprisingly sounding different from each other without at the same time producing anything completely ground-breaking.

No, these outfits didn’t re-invent the wheel; they used what was alreadily available to them, from the dazzling brutality movement (Suffocation, Cryptopsy), Morbid Angel, Atheist, Pestilence, also their compatriots Meshuggah, and created something more or less individualistic, and by all means equally as, if not even more, captivating. Alongside the recently reformed Theory in Practice Anata are the most famous and most celebrated act from this group. They didn’t quite start with a bang like the Theories and Spawn of Possession, but their gradual evolution couldn’t have reached a more logical culmination than this opus here.

What could be considered some kind of a pullback on their earlier repertoire was the adherence to more or less misplaced blast-beating brutality that didn’t always do the trick when stood against the surrounding it infernal, labyrinthine intricacy. Much tighter control has been exercised on such outbursts here as evident from showpieces like “Downward Spiral into Madness” where those are embedded so well into the mazy amorphous structure, never rudely interrupting the supreme surreal walkabouts and the surging attempts at nearly thrashing waywardness all three sides bonded in ever-circling riff-spirals. At times they are given more freedom like on the wayward shredder “Better Grieved than Fooled”, but its more urgent layout gracefully absorbs them, not without the help of oblivious spacey serenities. Mentioning the latter, one will find it really hard to give a better example of their application on a death metal opus, the excellent short instrumental “Children's Laughter” notwithstanding, the band utilizing them in various ways, either as an “aggressive/quieter” alternation (the staccato-prone masterpiece “Renunciation”) throughout, or as a wholesome, uninterrupted, never overlong, passage (the expansive cosmic title-track).

The guys’ uncanny skill at combining perplexity and accessibility, already handsomely exhibited earlier, is in full swing reaching an absolute pinnacle on “Complete Demise” which main riff-motif is a total no-brainer the band modifying it at will, also serving it in the form of an impetuous speedy crescendo in order to fit the shape-shifting, hyper-active nature of this number. A slight extension of it can even be detected on “The Great Juggler”, albeit more nervily applied with more hectic configurations propelling it forward. Yes, quite a few jolts and bounces here, but it can’t be any other way with so much puzzling technicality waiting at every corner “Cold Heart Forged in Hell” and “Disobedience Pays” presenting the ultimate challenge for the headbanger both immaculately arrayed, most dizzying amalgams of spastic riffs and marginally more linear sections that overlap each other in a firm logical fashion, “reaping” quite a few sprained necks along the way, not to mention the merger of all nuances into one simply overwhelming, gorgeous musical pageant that inevitably transcends all genre boundaries at some point, one that the listener wouldn’t even bother defining with any existing terms.

The vocals may pass completely unnoticed on this unparalleled roller-coaster their somewhat muffled semi-shouty baritone making a momentary impact on “I Would Dream of Blood”, the only more introspective proposition which morose doomy, less exuberant execution doesn’t bury the singer under a fountain of dazzling rifforamas. A respite well noted, also very appropriately placed in the middle, that even enhances the extraordinary musicianship on display the guys adhering to less versatility, proving themselves equally as expert at handling less complex templates. A surreal, ephemeral otherworldly listening experience that sums up the lofty aspirations of the mentioned group, this opus was smacked right in the middle of the 00’s, prompting the death metal scene to re-consider any potential switches on auto-pilot which was a very likely option having in mind the excitement and jubilation around the old school’s return to glory, and the instilling “as old school and as formularized as possible” mentality.

On the other hand, stagnation never became fully synonymous with death metal in the new millennium with similar eye-openers like Psycroptic’s “The Sceptre of the Ancients”, Crimson Massacre’s “The Luster of Pandemonium”, and to a lesser extent Necrophagist’s “Epitaph” provided earlier, but a genuinely bold attempt at placing the genre on a higher, more ambitious, more challenging to stand on as well, pedestal was still missing… until our friends here provided it, with all the needful ingredients firmly in place. It would be too farfetched, and also probably not really fair, to blame them for the diversification process that began within the death metal roster very soon after, but traces of this magnum opus can be clearly detected on the finest examples from it like Beheaded Zombie’s “Happiness for All”, Serdce’s “The Alchemy of Harmony”, Disaffected’s “Rebirth”, Morbus Chron’s “Sweven”, Deeds of Flesh’s “Portals to Canaan”, etc.

The “conductors” departed after this one, not yet for good as evident from their reportedly active status, but there’s no sniff of nervous anticipation and anxiety in the air… the fans are still spending their days listening to this last grand instalment of theirs, and it seems as though it may as well suffice for the next few centuries… sorry, years.