Anorexia Nervosa - _New Obscurantis Order_
by: Chris Flaaten (
What an improvement! This French black metal band has released several semi-interesting, synth-laden discs before, but always seemed like they could barely keep their heads above water. They have obviously taken swimming lessons since then, however. _New Obscurantis Order_ is an inferno of blastbeats, crushing riffs and intense orchestral arrangements. My first impression was "Whoa, this rocks!", and I have spent over two months unsuccessfully trying to find a flaw in my initial impression. _New Obscurantis Order_ could be described as a mix of Tartaros, Emperor's _Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk_, Dimmu Borgir's latest album and typical French riffing and harmony styles. Yet you can hear that this is the same band that released _Drudenhaus_ [CoC #47], so their identity is somehow still intact. The opener, "Mother Anorexia", starts off much like "The Drudenhaus Anthem", but it quickly becomes clear that Anorexia Nervosa has both matured and turned much more aggressive. Driven forth by the incessant drum inferno -- courtesy of the amazing Nilcas Vant -- and massive orchestral arrangements, the music is as intense as it gets, and still epic and greatly interesting at the same time. Even in the midst of furious blastbeats and hyperspeed riffs, they manage to infiltrate harmonies and orchestral effects so the listener never gets tired. Although I dislike the French chorus on the fifth track, there isn't a weak song on this album, making it a very consistent record indeed. Some excel a little more, though: the symphonic and pleasantly chaotic "Black Death Nonetheless", the equally fast "Stabat Mater Dolorosa" with its choirs and trance-like chanting, and finally, the heavy and epic finisher: "Ordo ab Chao". The album even comes in a limited edition digipak that also includes a cover of the classic "Solitude" by Candlemass. Anorexia Nervosa presents no radical new ideas for black metal with this album, but they do have a unique sound and showcase extraordinary talent in terms of both musicianship and composition. In a year when more famous bands fail to induce excitement, _New Obscurantis Order_ is a welcome surprise. Look for it on the number one spot in my top 10 list for 2001. [Paul Schwarz: "This dose of speedy, technical, symphonic black metal has really left me sitting on the fence. It's certainly an admirable achievement from a technical perspective, but though I've found it enjoyable enough, it's really not made the strongest impression on me, despite the fact that -- on the prompting of others who proclaim its excellence -- I have returned to it multiple times, sometimes with headphones. It seems to be growing on me, but I'm not sure its (currently limited) appeal to me won't start to fade rather than magnify in the near future."]
(article published 1/14/2002)
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