Released: 2008, Metal Blade Records
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland
According to the press release accompanying Anima’s THE DAILY GRIND, the German deathcore upstarts landed a deal with Metal Blade Records based solely on five songs they posted on MySpace from an unreleased MCD. If any of those five songs made it on to THE DAILY GRIND, I’m left wondering what it was about this band that Metal Blade deemed exceptional because to these ears, all I hear is cookie-cutter deathcore in the vein of Job For A Cowboy, Whitechapel and Suicide Silence and that trend is getting old…quick. In fairness, Anima seems to nail all the tenets of the genre—alternating growled/screamed vocals, lumbering breakdowns and hard-hitting slams—but telling all these bands apart is growing increasingly difficult. There is nothing exceptional or original at all here and like so many other albums fighting to get noticed, THE DAILY GRIND gets lost in the sea of generic platitude.
When these youngsters (band members are between 17 and 20 years of age) lock into a face melting maelstrom of intense, death metal grooves as they do on “Behind The Mask” and the title track, it’s hard to resist. The vocal dynamic displayed by Robert Horn captures the guttural low end and high-pitched screams well enough and guitarists Steven Holl and André Steinmann certainly have some chops. Might not want to focus on the rubbish they call lyrics too much, though (an actual line from “Behind The Mask” features this gem right before a breakdown: “Check this shit out, you fuckin’ pussy”), not to mention the grammatically atrocious “A Wrong Person To Trust In.” “Sitting In The Wardrobe” takes some well-played tempo shifts without losing an ounce of brutality and “Isolated” bounces along on melodic guitar leads ripped straight out of your favorite NWOBHM band’s catalogue.
THE DAILY GRIND is not a bad record. In fact, if it had come along eighteen months ago, it would probably be ranked much higher but the fact remains, Anima gets lost in the crowded deathcore shuffle. There is very little here to recommend over the umpteen other releases that have recently crossed my desk, all plying the same riffs, breakdowns and imagery. In a nutshell, THE DAILY GRIND is well-played deathcore but not good enough to rise above anything else.
KILLER KUTS: “Behind The Mask,” “Sitting In The Wardrobe,” “The Daily Grind,” “Isolated”