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Anguished > Cold > Reviews
Anguished - Cold

"Hey, at least she's better than Myrkur!" - 40%

MRmehman, September 4th, 2017

A few years ago I casually browsed through a thread here on the metal archives detailing bad album art. "Cold" by the one-woman black metal band Anguished popped into frame and instantly I knew I needed to know what this sounded like. I have no idea why but the artwork really stuck out in my mind. There's definitely something striking about it - I just can't quite put my finger in it...

Jokes aside, "Cold" is an album with a few interesting, albeit unoriginal ideas that weren't quite delivered on. The lyrics center around loneliness and indifference to a world Possessed Demoness clearly hates and while they can be an interesting read after the fact, the teenage angst oozing from them gets old fast. There's also no flow to them whatsoever, so most of the vocals end up as long winded and breathless screams that clash horribly with the rhythmic and repetitive riffs. This regularly destroys any hope of establishing an atmosphere throughout "Cold", which is an abhorrent problem.

Speaking of Possessed Demoness' vocals, they're utter shit. PD clearly doesn't have much experience with harsh vocals and the result is a bunch of shitty, weak screams all done in one register. Occasionally, her vocals seem to come from the throat, which as we all know, not only gives a poor sound but fucks up your vocal cords. I've a strong feeling this is why Anguished haven't put any music out in well over 7 years - you can't wail if all your vocal cords are snapped! They're also as loud in the mix as humanly possible, often drowning out the other instruments, Panzurfaust-style. Worse still, just when you think you're getting used to them, they'll get even more one dimensional, loud and generally grating. Case and point, the track "Tired" which made me turn the album off on two separate occasions. The saving grace is PD's cleans - they ain't half bad and she puts them to good use on the second half of "Verivala". The track reminds me a little of something Myrkur would write, what with it's harmonised female vocals. Little moments like this make me think of what "Cold" could have been if PD had just taken some vocal lessons and cared enough to tighten up her songs. Sadly, it's only right here at the end of the album that any real atmosphere is built up.

A lot of the instrumentation is good but more than a little generic. The guitar tone is dissonant, even if it is a tad high in the mix and the drums are pretty ok too, though that snare sounds horrendous. The production is raw enough to add a little flavor but still clear enough for you to make out each instrument, which suits most of these songs well. "September Nights" for example is creepy and has some lovely, crunchy guitars on it, the leads on that track are especially good. Overall though, there isn't much here that *insert any other DSBM band* hasn't done before and done with better vocals.

I can't say that I recommend "Cold". It's short (thankfully) and there's one or two moments that stick out but your time would better spent listening to any other DSBM album, preferably one with better vocals.

ANGUISHED: "Cold" - 80%

skaven, November 20th, 2011

Female vocals in black metal - is this some symphonic, polished gothic black metal? No, quite the opposite this time, because Anguished’s debut album Cold offers some piercingly freezing underground black metal with some of the most abhorrent and tortured vocal screeches that I’ve had the pleasure to listen to, and yes, this is a positive thing, and the disgusting howls are coming out of a woman who also handles all the instruments - except the drums that are battered by a session member - on this album.

Musically, Anguished seems to revolve around two somewhat different but definitely connected areas: while songs like ”These Gray Days” attack with relentless old school power, such tracks as the 8-minute ”September Nights” and ”The Last Trip” lean more clearly to sorrowful, depressive melodies and atmospheres. The spine-chilling, malicious invocations of ”Come to Me Satan” could be said to be somewhere between the two approaches, belonging to the record’s standout moments.

The album lives up to its name, and most certainly so when it comes to the utterly raw production, perhaps headache-inducing to some. The bass guitar does exist here but the freezing guitar sound is much more dominating, as are the slashing cymbals and the pounding snare drum - not to even mention again the inhumane vocals spewing out Satanic and suicidal lyrics. Mercy is not given until the final track, introducing ’normal’ chanting female vocals above the clean guitar sound - though a little surprise does happen at the very last seconds.

Hands down, Cold belongs to the most surprising debuts of this year, and not only because of the unique vocal delivery, but also due to the qualified compositions that make the album a coherent whole: none of the tracks seem out of place. Only two tracks - ”Tired” and ”Verivala” - fail to rise to the level of the others but we aren't still talking about any bad material at all. Those who can digest such a raw production and enjoy Arkha Sva / old Cradle of Filth esque vocals, don’t hesitate to check this out.

4 / 5
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A fell goddess sharing her vices and pain - 77%

autothrall, November 10th, 2010

The way Possessed Demoness struts about the packaging for her Anguished debut, Cold, you'd think she was working the corners of Hell somewhere, ready to slice up any john who would dare bring anything less than utter blasphemy and perversion. Tattoos, leather, bullet belts, corpse paint and some of the most blatantly vapid, suicidal lyrics I've ever read characterize the fact that you're in for a pretty dark trip, unique in that it's one of very few one woman black metal outfits out there. But don't think for a second that this is any sort of gimmick or caricature, because once you press play you're in for something disturbing that cuts through the listener like a razor blade on an overcast, downer afternoon that goes too far...

First and foremost, you will notice the damn voice. Possessed Demoness screams and sneers like a mutation of screech owl, harpy and textbook wicked witch, or perhaps a banshee with a sword or burning torch shoved down her throat. This is beyond Varg Vikernes here, beyond even the vocals of Weakling, into a territory rarely heard in even the most depressive extremes of the genre. Singing like this could very easily become annoying, yet somehow she manages to implement it right at the edge of tolerance, so it never quite collapses over itself, and provides the perfect, ghastly pallor to ride the crescendos of raw, flowing guitars. Demoness performs all the instruments, and while she's not a virtuoso at any of them, they strike a fine balance which is miraculously able to carry the burden of the tortured lyrics being spit out across the darkness that controls her spirit.

Riffs are barbaric in the vein of Bathory, Hellhammer, Horna, Mayhem and Darkthrone, especially in the opener "These Gray Days", which is exceedingly simplistic but perhaps the best overall mesh of music and vocals on the entire album. This is a real eye opener, I recommend listening to it in the morning, replacing your daily warm caffeine ritual with a convulsive fit of ghastly shivers. "September Nights" is another of the album's high marks, nearly 8 minutes of slowly flowing blood rivulets delivered in shining grace with a giant 'fuck you' to all notions of comfort and contentment, though she does insert some cleaner, narrative vocals flush against the oozing momentum of leeched plasma. "Depart This Life" becomes so weighted with despair and violence that I felt the urge to flee my listening room and hide.

There might not a lot of surprises waiting in the metal compositions, but most of them are solid regardless, and often more melodic than you'd expect (i.e. "The Last Trip"). However, the album's 180 degree, bewitching title track finale is this scintillating vocal piece set alongside resonant clean guitars that proves Demoness can actually sing as well as snarl, so add that to her list of talents along with breathing fire. The production does not betray the album's title, with sharp and slicing guitar lines that add a crashing contour to each thicker, driving chord and a frost tinted ambiance to the melodies. I won't say I loved the lyrics, because they are perhaps too one-track in their intentions, but then, this is basically an aural suicide note, so you can't really blame her for neglecting to incorporate deeper symbolism and metaphor. Otherwise, this is a grisly, effective journey through a wrist-spawned, crimson tide, well suited for fans of primal Finnish black metal or the early 90s Norse pioneers.