Released: 2013, code666
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
One of the first impressions of any band is from the logo, the album cover and the song names. Angrenost seem to be doing it all right. A spidery if slightly too legible logo and a captivatingly cold album cover. Even the song names fit the bill; apart from one distinct difference to most albums… they appear to have had a battle with the caps lock. From the title, PLANET MUSCARIA to the nine tracks on the album, including SaTaNlOgOS and )O(NrefNI, the seemingly random use of caps are not fully explained by the band. Beginning in 1995 with a two-man lineup, Pursan and Ainvar, this twosome released the EP Evil before breaking up. Seventeen years later Pursan is back with new accompaniment and a full-length album to unleash on the world.
Fifteen years in the making has obviously done a lot for this album and its writer. Planet Muscaria is music of demons. Cold, unrelenting, destructive hatred wrapped in sixty-three minutes of violent black metal. Pursans vocals are heavily reminiscent of the earlier works of Dimmu Borgir, particularly on INTraVeNUS, cutting in with harshly spoken passages like voices rising out of the abyss, calling to the listener. The words are on the edge of understand, leaving the listener grasping as moments of realization before dropping back into an unintelligible mass.
The music is also not too dissimilar either. Violent blasting beats combined with dark symphonic backing. The real development in this album occurs in slower moments, the calm in the center of the madness. Hazy passages with riffs rising and falling, half heard ideas permeating the confusion before dropping back out. At it’s heart this is through and through orthodox black metal, there isn’t much happening here that hasn’t happened a thousand times before, and they are stuck walking in the footsteps of greater bands. Despite this, the album does have a fresh sound, and every turn feels like a freshly birthed and honest twist in their journey through each song.
Neatly placed between the opening track INferN(O) and closing on )O(NrefNI, these parallel compositions form edges, paths in and out of the madness of the album. The whole thing comes together to form a journey, a passageway through the mind: its flaws and its demons. Despite being divided into tracks, this album should not be separated; its impact comes through taking it as a whole entity.
This is an album of many levels, many layers that pass through each other, struggling for dominance. This ensures it is no background album; it commands attention from start to finish, demanding each piece be heard. It’s hard when it comes to traditional orthodox black metal to make yourself stand out from the hoards of other bands on the scene struggling for the same attention, but there’s something about this band that doesn’t ask for it, more demands it. We’ve waited fifteen years for the follow up to Evil, but after Planet Muscaria we can only pray we don’t have to wait another fifteen more.
Review by Caitlin Smith