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Monday, February 22, 2016

Wendigo (Nor) - Anthropophagist

Artist: Wendigo (Nor)
Release Title: Anthropophagist
Year: 2015
Label: Fallen-Angel Productions
1. Gore Infested Basement
2. Cannibal Ritual
3. The Anthropophagist
4. Serpent Master
5. Wendigo Psychosis
6. Fear (Is Big Business)
7. Human Flesh
8. Live Lobotomy
9. Ending

The debut full-length release from Norwegian black/thrashers Wendigo brings about an utterly fun take on the style that offers plenty of enjoyable moments about it. Based more on the kind of simplistic, stripped-down punk-style rhythms over the blasting drumming that rumbles along at a frantic tempo, the biggest factor here with this one is the more prominent bass-lines that are at the forefront of the band's sound which certainly makes for a louder, heavier style series of rhythms to be found here which is far more of a dirty, punk-rock style sound that meshes so well with those ravenous thrashing riffs. While these elements make for an utterly explosive mixture when played at their upper tempos, which thankfully is far more prominent, the more simplistic mid-tempo efforts come off far lower in terms of working through the slower end of their sound as there’s some more enjoyment found in their upper-tempos. Along with these strong elements, there’s some nice fun to be had from the experimentations found in the second half where they manage to incorporate a bit of keyboard prominence into the rhythms which tends to give this a kind of horror-film ambience that nicely mixes with their dirty riffing and subject matter which is a rather odd mix that doesn’t really seem to mesh well with their more rocking style. It’s a nice attempt at variation and there’s some decent moments at work, but there’s far more to like elsewhere here.

The first half here certainly starts this off on a fine note. Opener ‘Gore Infested Basement’ uses furious thrashing riff-work and pounding drumming rocking along at a frantic tempo with a driving intensity throughout the full-throttle pace with the utterly dexterous bass-lines rumbling along with plenty of frantic tremolo leads alongside the blaring bass-lines pulsating into the raging final half for an utterly infectious opener here. The droning epic ‘Cannibal Ritual’ features a rocking mid-tempo charge with blaring bass-lines thumping along to the simple approach with the rocking, single-minded riffing carrying along with plenty of tight riffing offering stellar mid-tempo paces along through the droning chanting and sprawling patterns found in the keyboard-led final half for an altogether-enjoyable if a slight letdown from from the previous effort. ‘The Anthropophagist’ blasts through a frantic mid-tempo charge with plenty of blaring bass-tones alongside the tight, thumping drumming carrying the frantic riff-work through the series of swirling riff-work and tight, blaring rhythms along the mid-tempo finale which makes for a fine overall effort. ‘Serpent Master’ opens with tight, raging riff-work and frantic rhythms with plenty of blaring drumming and plenty of furious thumping bass-lines taking the charging riff-work into rather furious tempos with the frantic patterns dropping off into a tight mid-tempo burst through the final half for another stellar offering on display. ‘Wendigo Psychosis’ takes a rocking up-tempo drum-beat and dynamic blaring bass-lines with the thumping riff-work carrying the simplistic rhythms along through the rocking series of up-tempo paces full of wholly dynamic and pounding drumming blaring through the extended finale for a rather frantic and enjoyable track.

Though slightly experimental in nature, the second half still feels quite cohesive with the upper half. ‘Fear (Is Big Business)’ uses a cinematic-style haunting keyboard riff over a simple, charging series of riffs with plenty of swirling riffing and plodding drumming slowly lurch through pounding rhythms and a furious blast of feral energy through the scorching riff-work augmented by ethereal cinematic keyboards throughout the final half for another absolutely stand-out highlight. ‘Human Flesh’ utilizes frenetic riffing alongside plenty of simple, rocking drumming that features a rather energetic mid-tempo pace as the swirling rhythms carry the simple melodies along with the haunting keyboards into the rocking finale for a rather needless throwaway track. ‘Live Lobotomy’ offers up more atmospheric keyboard melodies slowly through the simple, chugging rhythms with plenty of simple thumping drumming alongside the rumbling bass-lines with the atmospheric keyboards effectively drawing the atmosphere along into the final half for a fine if unspectacular effort. Album-closing instrumental ‘Ending’ takes a strong, classical piano melody with plenty of cinematic soundscapes through a simple tone offering a fine ending note for this to go out on.

While there’s a lot to really like here, it ultimately works a little too many obscure ideas into this one that does hold it back with all the seemingly contradictory elements at play, and even though this is a debut which deserves a few breaks due to them not having found their sound yet it really serves itself well enough to be worthwhile of fans to that genre of dirty rocking black/thrash.

Score: 82/100

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