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Another masterpiece - 95%

EndlessTorment, April 24th, 2014

Eleven years ago, Astriaal attained the pinnacle of their art with Renascent Misanthropy. Anatomy of the Infinite sees them reaching the same height, if not surpassing it in its exploration of cold, malefic spite.

With much of the previous album's symphonic elements stripped away, Anatomy of the Infinite brandishes a harsher, even more malevolent sound. The rawness only helps to further enhance Astriaal's sharp, deft melodies that stand in antithesis to the sheer brutality of the riffs and Gryphon's relentless blast beats. Baaruhl and Helthor's unison tremolo picking and Arzarkhel's typical shrieking howls don't see the band experimenting very much beyond the usual melodic black metal framework, but that only means they are working closer to the perfect ideal of the genre. Snippets of narrative and choruses of dark chanting add to the cheerless vision of ultimate oblivion that is this album, draped in the morbid works of Notke and Vald├ęs Leal. Like Renascent Misanthropy, the intro piece "Blessed are the Dead" builds towards the crushing fury of "Visceral Incarnate" and little remorse is offered from that moment. The clean tones and gentle, haunting dynamics of "Relinquishment of the Stars" is in stark contrast to "For the Day Will Come", an epic, majestic track that closes the album on a note of unaccountable bleakness.

Anatomy of the Infinite is the perfect companion to its predecessor and a further definition of Astriaal's mastery of their chosen art, their own unflinching statement on the fraility of humanity in the face of eternity. Another masterpiece.

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