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Anatomia > Corporeal Torment > Reviews
Anatomia - Corporeal Torment

beyond random thoughts - 96%

Cosmic Mystery, November 24th, 2021
Written based on this version: 2021, 12" vinyl, Me Saco un Ojo Records (Limited edition, 2 colors)

Having already cultivated their sound in death metal and expanded their reach considerably, Anatomia still remains somewhat of a rarity to the genre. Hence there is no band quite the likes of Anatomia, in terms of consistency, creativity and discipline. Their contributions to death metal go unmatched, unparalleled and uncontested. Cranial Obsession still stands out as their best work; however, it does not do so by a great margin given Anatomia's entire catalogue is filled with praised pieces of death/doom. And though the band has existed for such a long time and has garnered much respect, they've never excused themselves from striving for betterment nor did they ever become complacent.

What is Corporeal Torment? Simply put, the next chapter in a grueling history of Anatomia’s depraved death/doom; thematically, a great question put forth surrounding the existence beyond the physical. Erecting a sonic representation of such a provocative question would be a grand undertaking, one that would help to test the instrumental and atmospheric proficiencies of the Japanese death/doom giant. Granted that even for a veteran band with so many quality split releases enough to collectively form perhaps 6+ albums, you’d expect their next effort to be an easy undertaking; however when you factor in the weight of the concept behind such an album then you have a real task to tackle even for a death/doom titan.

What has always stood out about Anatomia is their ability to create a believable atmosphere and to make each album and EP sound like a procession and progression towards a particular state. Rather than just playing some death metal tunes, Anatomia has the gift of creating a sort of intimacy within the music itself, thus operating at an angle that facilitates for maximum immersion. The way each vocal and instrumental note is crafted evokes a feeling of watching a master painter at work. You stare baffled by the diligence of every stroke of the brush and how simplicity unfolds to a thing of heavy substance. Timeless are the riffs, muscular abyssal vocals, and moans of anguish that fall into the tormenting template of basslines and mystic atmospheric pressures while continuously and meticulously being anointed by a seemingly esoteric lineage of death/doom ancestry.

From the trance inducing yet brutal disfigurement that is ‘Dismemberment', to the horrifying and transcendental ‘Mortem', you’re not given the privilege to skip any entry without missing a key moment of Corporeal Torment. This is the essence of an Anatomia record, it reflects that of a scholarly study through chapters of a complex topic that would prove to be instrumental in the final summation or conclusion connected to the subject’s thesis.

Moving about with an adept foot, these songs never fail to reinforce the gravity and sheer magnitude of such a topic through applying the principled fundamentals of the sub-genre passed-down by Disembowelment, Autopsy, etc…; all the while applying Anatomia's own signature touch of bouldering, guttural maws, nasty bellows, a sea-saw of sometimes sporadic depressions into lifeless funereal territories and swift, precise swings at thrashing death metal. Like a ‘Slime Of Putrescence' or ‘Despaired Void' would lay nearly dormant with its restrained, stagnant and sluggish clawing from the jaws of despair then find a sudden energetic, resuscitating burst of rhythmic climax only to once again lower its guard and submit to an inescapable adversary, these tracks demonstrate and give near perfect rendition to a mental oppression leading to the vacuuming of a still debated existence beyond that of a fleshy husk.

The tendrils of a philosophical burden stretched to musical form, Corporeal Torment with a creaking motion carves out of the earth and paranormal, a corporeal and cerebral confinement. A Dark Descent product of disgust, dismay and disaster.

Posted at

Musical decay - 91%

we hope you die, May 21st, 2021

Veteran Japanese death/doomsters Anatomia return with their latest LP ‘Corporeal Torment’, and what a treat it is. If previous efforts from this outfit were a compellingly creepy blend of Autopsy and diSEMBOWELMENT, this album sees them flirt with drone. The underlying formula may still be intact, but Anatomia seem intent on placing it on the rack and stretching it into a contorted mutation of itself. Predecessor ‘Cranial Obsessions’ (2017) was a weighty survey of the many darkened corridors of death/doom that stretched to well over an hour. ‘Corporeal Torment’ is far shorter, but it sees them zero in on the darkest, slowest, murkiest aspects of this subgenre. They have essentially washed themselves clean of death metal for the sake of pure doom riffs, darkly immersive atmospheres, and chasmic production values.

And seeing as we’ve mentioned production, we might as well start there. I believe it would be most instructive to view this as a dark ambient album posing as metal. The guitar tone is a down-tuned dirge incapable of articulating anything more precise than slow, droning chords. On the rare occasions that the tempo does pick up, any musical artefacts that were present in the guitars are completely lost beneath the fuzzy inertia. Clean tones do crop up, issuing echoey and minimal note clusters, acting as a lament to the amoral distortion beneath. This colours the music with a sombre, funereal vibe which oozes from every pore.

The reason I wish to look at this as ambient album is the simplicity of the drums. They are fairly weak in the mix, and the patterns are very basic, for the most part following each chord strike with scant fills to link the vast chasms between each beat. In this sense we see percussion reduced to its most rudimentary elements, with any joy in creative rhythms long since departed. Beats serve no other purpose than to remind us of the passage of time.

But the guitars, in their mastery of tritones and drably minimal harmonies are aided heavily in their textural qualities by the vocals. With both Jun Tonosaki and Takashi Tanaka bringing their own vocal ejaculations to the table, they become one of the defining aspects of the album, fleshing out the riff textures with their throaty fuzz. It’s frankly unsettling. The chief voice articulates slow, guttural drones that act with rhythmic independence from the rest of the music. But a whole array of ghoulish drones and throat singing creep out of the mix as the album progresses. And they seem to compound on each other over the course of the album, growing in intensity and number as multiple vocal tracks are layered atop one another and reach for the ears from all sides.

There are fragments of traditional metal buried within ‘Corporeal Torment’, an Incantation riff here, a warped stoner riff there. But Anatomia seem bent on supressing the riff-based qualities in their music in order to recentre their style toward pure atmosphere. The riffs, such as they are, are well written and could easily stand on their own despite their simplicity. But in being stretched out over such slow tempos, supressed by a guitar tone with almost no attack, and at risk of being completely buried beneath the verbal monstrosities that wade across the mix, we simply cannot look at this as a metal album.

It is a dark ambient album that seeks to express the rotting process. The guitar/drum/bass setup of metal is not simply being pushed to new levels of murk, it is decaying, losing all solidity before our ears. The sharp forms and distinct materials that define all stripes of metal are rotting, merging, combining into an indeterminate mulch.

This finds its final expression in the twenty minute closer ‘Mortem’. There is a drumbeat, the guitar appears to be moving between notes, and vocals are still articulating symbols. But these things are only just within the grasp of our perception, slowly fading into the void. It’s as if we’re witnessing their final cry in this reality before submerging into compost. In letting go of riff philosophy on ‘Corporeal Torment’, Anatomia are linking up with the strong ties already present between metal and dark ambient, and finding new ways to strengthen and flesh out this artistically unique bond.

Originally published at Hate Meditations