Released: 2011, Indie
In 2011 the Canadian Academy Of Recording Arts And Sciences (CARAS) made an announcement of interest to the Canadian Metal community. Namely they announced that after a 17-year hiatus, Canada’s national music recognition program (aka the Juno Awards) would be rejoining the rest of the civilized world and re-establishing the Metal Category for the 2011. By the time this review goes to publication, it is possible they will have announced the final nominees for the category, with the winner to be presented the award at the end of April, 2012. In the spirit of supporting underground Canadian Metal I’ve decided to do a spotlight on some Canadian acts. I feel these are some excellent Metal records from across Canada. The other artists in this spotlight are Demisery, Final Darkness, Gales Of Avalon, Magnetic, Morningless, Nephelium and Villianizer. Feel free to read the reviews of these albums.
Of all the artists in this feature on Canadian bands, Anonymus is the most experienced and most well known. The band is one of those groups where I jumped on the band wagon very early on buying their first couple of cassettes(!) back in the mid-90's. It's actually a bit embarrassing that this is our first review of an Anonymus album on this site. I mean, I play them on my radio show, I've seen them in concert a number of times but haven't written a review yet! I'm delighted to say they are still going stronger than ever with the release of their 6th proper album, ETAT BRUTE. (They have a few other releases as well, splits, live stuff and a couple of side-project type things.)
Anonymus has to be one of the most consistent bands likely due to the long term stability in the ranks with virtually no changes over almost two decades. ETAT BRUTE fits like a glove with their brand of amplified PowerThrash just surging through the disc. If anything there might be a very slight step back towards a more traditional metal framework, which suits these veteran ears just fine.
The 44 minute long album comes in a nice digipak with another piece of dark cover art that suits the mood inside. The 10 tracks are all well produced with a nice modern, heavy thick sound that separates them from the cleaner, brighter, retro-thrash sounds that try to emulate the 80's.
ETAT BRUTE is heavy and fast but not shrill and hyper, nor are the riffs locked in the groove sound, but there is a relentlessness and intensity to the songs. They have a signature sound that is quite unique and not easily identifiable. the solos are fast and furious as the bands churns out song after song of a weird hybrid of Technical PowerThrash with harsh (but not unintelligible) vocals. If you really need a name-dropping musical frame of reference I'd point to some lesser known mid-90's thrash bands that still loved thrash, incorporated a more modern heavy approach but were too pure (and smart) to get sucked into the whole Pantera thing; bands like Forte, Balistik Kick, Warhead, Delirious and even mid-era Testament.
After all these years as a successful independent act, I'm sure they must have been approached by international labels with offers, but to date they still remain in charge of their own destiny. Of all those killer bands in Quebec; Martyr, Neuraxis, Kataklysm, Cryptopsy, Quo Vadis, and Unexpect, Anonymus have been around just as long and are as good as (or better) than all those guys, and yet they remain the least known of their colleagues in that scene, again very likely due to their independent status. It's criminal these guys aren't as well known here in Canada and internationally. Perhaps it's because the lyrics are in French and Spanish making them less appealing to the international audience, ie. an English audience.
Whatever the reason, I hope that ETAT BRUTE will bring them the long overdue recognition they deserve and until then I’ll continue to enjoy the top-notch musicianship and song-writing of this excellent band.