Anacondas – Sub Contra Blues (Prosthetic Records)

Sunday, 3rd November 2013
Rating: 7/10

Sometimes things just defy description. Sometimes the sum of the parts comes to equal a strange, beguiling whole. Such is the case with British trio Anacondas’ debut Sub Contra Blues for Prosthetic. It’s easy to pick out influences heard on the disc – Pelican, Tesseract, and Acid Bath could all comfortably share a stage – but Anacondas manage to blend these elements into something entirely their own.

Sub Contra Blues is a raucous and charming pot of swirling punk and metal styles, but is first and foremost a rock record. Bellows of hardcore punk punctuate the rumbling metallic sludge riffs and jangly, spacey shoegaze sections to great effect on “Down by the River,” setting up a nice repetitive chorus element sure to inspire fervent sing-alongs live. “Simianimal” stumbles a bit early with a forced sounding chorus, but rebounds strongly with great stoner riffs and melodic sections before fading into the title track. The listener is provided a brief respite with the uplifting passages of “Sub Contra Blues,” but this is soon revealed to be nothing more than the band taking a breath before attacking with it’s crunchiest bit of off-time pit-inducing rawk on “High Horse.”

Mid-paced throughout its eight tracks, each song has its own identifying vocal hook or signature riff that’s easy to latch onto, and many of these songs would sit comfortably on a decent hard rock radio station without making you embarrassed to have them discovered in your playlist. In addition to a workmanlike midtone-favoring production that represents the soaring harmonies and lurching chugs equally well without being too clean or too fuzzy, strong multi-layered vocal harmonies are sprinkled throughout. This infusion of light is sure to become one of Anacondas trademarks, and is particularly well implemented on the impressive album closer, “This Night Will Last Forever.”

There are a few moments here and there that seemed a tad strained, but these moments are few and overshadowed by how much Anacondas gets right. Sub Contra Blues is heavy, passionate, and interesting, chock full of memorable rock songs you’ll singing snippets of in your head randomly for the next few years.

Anacondas on Bandcamp