The shock factor no longer makes an impact in Death Metal. It has been nigh on two decades since Desecration’s Gore and Perversion (Anoxic) was banned, and more than that since Cannibal Corpse first ripped entrails from the front bottom of a lady yet to engage in encounters of a sexual nature – indeed, it’s been fifteen years since AntropomorphiA displayed a tattooed, um, fanny – I’m using the UK version of the word – on the cover of their debut Pure (D.M.). Desensitization kicks in and kicks in hard, and while there is a certain childish glee from titles like ‘Nekrovaginal Secretions’, these hardened (!) Dutch perverts have been around long enough to know that in order to cut the corpse they need a lot more about them than some titillating words.
But any reservations are dispelled within seconds by the hurtling early Slayerisms of opener ‘Temphioth Workings’ as Antropormorphia are no pony, one-trick or otherwise. With a sound that owes much to Bolt Thrower, early Amon Amarth and the underground Death Metal of the mid 90’s that wasn’t afraid to groove, change tempo or to have melodic inflections (while eschewing an overly lead based approach), Rites ov Perversion (Metal Blade), the band’s second album since reforming and third overall, is gratifying and grinding in equal measures.
As the album progresses, AntropormorphiA show they have a knack for hitting an uptempo groove, ‘Morbid Rites’ is Canestan for the itch A Canorous Quintet never came close to scratching (I always had a soft spot for ACQ – The Only Pure Hate (No Fashion) is a decent album, I’ll have you know), ‘Gospel ov Perversion’ references At The Gates and Morbid Angel, while the neck muscle workout of the excellent hate machine that is ‘Inanimatus Absqui Anima’ is pure The Karelian Isthmus (Relapse) era Amorphis. Elsewhere, there are flashes of Dismember, Autopsy and Carcass, as well as the ubiquitous Bolt Thrower.
While AntropomorphiA haven’t created anything innovative, or issued a challenge to the order of khaos, they have released a very enjoyable album that showcases and pays tribute to many of the immortals while still sitting within a consistent and identifiable sound of their own. A worthwhile listen.