Friday, February 10, 2012
Black Anvil - Triumvirate 
Black Anvil are a three-piece black metal act from the United States, and their sophomore effort, “Triumvirate,” exceeds on many levels. It resembles bands such as Watain, Arckanum, and maybe even Dissection, having an appealing sound and style that isn’t exactly unique but does indeed serve to combine many riffs and gather them together very neatly and densely. This black metal album tumbles on through different phases, the ever-present one being an undeniable melodic influence to their black metal sound.
The album starts of with “What Is Life If Not Now!”, and you’re immediately gestured into a soothing atmosphere that pummels on with shrieking yet smooth vocals and melodic riffs every now and then. The riffs found on here, as previously stated, have a very appealing tone to them. They’re catchy and somber at the same time. Most of the riffs aren’t as blazingly fast as in many black metal albums, but they’re well thought out and throw in patterns that successfully catch your attention. They mix high and low notes, strumming smoothly and releasing controlled bursts of energy. As well as melodic riffs, traditional black metal ones and sometimes even a short-lived more death metal-influenced riff will crop itself up, such as in the intro to “Dead and Left” or “With Transparent Blood.” The drumming on “Triumvirate” takes what the guitars are doing and follows along with it, being slow at times and at others plain, fast blast beats.
The somehow calm but at the same time evil vocals mesh together with the melodic riffs and combine to produce an effect that isn’t always present on black metal albums. Parts like 2:43 on “What Is Life If Not Now!” will instantly mesmerize you and put you into a trance of sorts. The bleak and relaxed riffing generates a tranquil style that will push you through the rest of the album. The speed on this record often varies greatly from relatively fast (never overbearingly so) to slower passages and the songwriting is great, pitching in different riffs here and there and transitioning smoothly into more sluggish phases. “We Own You” proves that they can gather up different notes to create dissonant riffs, especially in the intro, and soon switch into a crushingly hypnotizing riff that has a blast beat striking along in the background. The production is tidy and rounds up the riffing to create a great, almost tangible feeling. The vocals always seem to just seep through the air and blend in with the other instruments, but they definitely create a great sound that glues everything else together.
This is a solid effort that has intrigued me to hearing more from Black Anvil. The melodic and dissonant riffing definitely succeeds in showing that they’re creative and know how to condense riffs to generate a great end result. The production is very smooth, not raw as is usually the case with black metal (a con in my opinion, but it doesn't detract from the music and it does have its merits). The tight musicianship produces well thought-out riffs as well as more easy-going ones. Certainly an enduring achievement and I look forward to hearing more from these guys.