Anarchy - _Scriptorium_
(Independent, 2013)
by: Aly Hassab El Naby (7 out of 10)
Welcome to the Egyptian metal underground, where our hospitality is plentiful and our national output leaves questionable spaces on our record shelves. Egypt may very well be the first name on many people's "countries to visit" list, but it's not a commonly tossed around name in the underground metal circles. Oddly enough though, after an early scene in the '90s, a controversial mass arrest in '97 and some weak revival attempts from 2004 to 2008 that never gathered enough steam, we seem to have a small, and hopefully growing, collection of locally produced metal by 2013. Last year, debutants Sand Aura released _Elegy of the Orient_ and now we have another debut album, this time by Anarchy.

Anarchy's debut _Scriptorium_ is quite an ambitious effort by five young men. Its forty-two minute duration is the total of just six tracks that combine a variety of musical and lyrical influences within a progressive metal base. There are slight hints of oriental / middle eastern melodies interspersed throughout _Scriptorium_, but they're very subtle and never overstay their welcome. After a brief one minute "Intro", "12 Gates" kicks in with an Ancient Egyptian theme to its lyrics and a dynamic collection of riffs; a lot of them. It's the first of two back-to-back nine minute tracks that really pack lots of punches.

There's a lot of vocal variety on _Scriptorium_. The transitions from harsh to clean singing and back are made numerous times on each track, but I find myself leaning more towards the harsher, more aggressive bits. The clean delivery just left me waiting for the next bark. It had a bit of a James Hetfield influence that just sounded forced. On the other hand, the forceful growls on "Pandora" add some much welcomed aggression. "Pandora" actually seems to stand out the most as far as I'm concerned. Its tricky time signatures and extra hint of aggression make it my favorite of the album.

Guitar tones come through quite sharply and there's hardly a moment of prog-metal guitar wankery. The guitar solos are never the focal point yet they're not superfluous either. The drumming is very energetic and it shows a lot of potential for some displays that can generate quite a buzz. Overall, _Scriptorium_ is Anarchy's birth certificate in the metal world. It is packed full of different ideas, but I think they were a bit too excited to be putting out a record and crammed all they had in there. I don't find this particularly off-putting given the band members' experience, and I expect them to come up with something more focused and mature in the future. I'll be waiting for that.


(article published 28/4/2013)

12/23/2013 A El Naby Scarab / Anarchy A Scriptorium of Death in the Valley of the Nile
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