Anicon – Exegeses (Avantgarde/Gilead Media)

Tuesday, 28th June 2016
Rating: 8/10

In blazing through Anicon’s first full-length, Exegeses, the question arose: do we now have a new extension for USBM in the form of melodic USBM? Could be. The product of main constituents Nolan Voss and Owen Rundquist (they are also joined by Krallice drummer Lev Weinstein and Yellow Eyes live man Alexander DeMaria), Anicon ably works themselves into the already-established realm of Stateside black metal. But, in doing so, they’ve bucked one of the long-running hiccups with the sound by creating a flowing, harmony-laden output that at face value, is quite stirring.

Now, certain elements of Exegeses will no doubt familiar, starting with the production job and, of course, the long songs, a definite prerequisite, it seems. Vocals aren’t much of value, as Rundquist picks his spots, usually waiting for a cascade of riffs to end before jumping in with his frothy bellow. So as indicated above, the success of Exegeses rests largely on the sterling guitar work of Voss and Rundquist. Their chord choices hammer on down through fields of spaciousness, with pensive, churning movements found on “Toil and Mockery,” coupled with emphatic guitar-and-drum interplay on “From Teeth, From Tongue.” The guitar melodies, however, make the album, and they’re the driving force on “Robbed in Torments” and the excellent “Hallucinating Fate,” two numbers that extended beyond the bounds of what USBM is often considered to be.

Anicon are decisively not an odd duck in the USBM scene, but rather a more rational and realized entity than many of their peers. All across Exegeses, it’s one diverse, climatic arrangement after the next, none of which ponder to black metal’s unfortunate indulgent side. In turn, Anicon are one of the most exciting American black metal prospects in years. Brooklyn does it again.

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