Black Anvil- ‘As Was’ title track premiere on Clrvynt via Relapse Records
Ya gotta commend New York for being so supportive of its black metal-- so much so they’ve coined the acronym NYBM, which needs no explanation. While the title track off an album doesn't typically do a full work justice, it’s all we have to base an opinion on until the full drop January 13th, so here we go.
Black Anvil’s ‘As Was’ begins with a delicate, lonely guitar, followed by layers of melodic riffs to fill the void. At this point it could go in several directions, but it takes a heartfelt turn via clean, pleading vocals singing buzzwords like time, declines, decadent, and parasite, before the grit chimes in. I’m not a black metal purist, but the closest ‘As Was’ comes to black metal is at 1:57 when the gutter vocals first join in-- an attribute that isn’t exclusively synonymous with black metal anyway.
Then, in the next two and a half minutes the song swells out of distortion, into a clean ray of sunshine where at 5:47 a triumphant soprano hits a note I’ve never reached exclaiming something about the “glory of his light.” Blame it on years of a Catholic upbringing, but it’s near impossible for me to hear an ambiguous phrase about his love, or his redemption, without thinking of Jesus and Christian rock. While I can’t shake the sense of subliminal bible-tising, like Jesus, I too look for the good in things, so hell-- the riff right after the glory of his light is pretty heavy, but it only lasts about 10 seconds. Still, something about the initial clean riff strikes a nostalgic chord easy for anyone who’s loved and lost to identify with, which I enjoy. Despite its spurts of double-bass and harsh croaks, Black Anvil’s latest album (if the title track is telling of the full length) isn’t black metal, and that’s fine. It’s experimental, optimistically dark ‘n emotional, and even with the clean vocals it ain’t too bad. -FS Staff
listen to the debut track here