Yesterday we reviewed The Valiant’s ‘Empress Heights’. After our first listen of the record we followed it up with a play of Animus’ debut EP ‘Fall of the Elite’. Why is this important? It’s important because I didn’t realise I’d stopped listening to The Valiant and started listening to Animus. Yes, we’ve joined Metalcore Camp once again and Animus have already proven that this genre has become stale and predictable straight off the bat. I was also hoping their name would result in a concept record about the Assassin’s Creed series but alas, it was not to be.
In all fairness Animus do have some subtle differences to The Valiant. Animus are actually a heavier band and probably fall under the category of deathcore more than metalcore. The band share more similarities with Suicide Silence and ‘Count Your Blessings’-era Bring Me The Horizon than they do Killswitch Engage. The whole EP is performed exclusively with harsh vocals instead of using an alternating ‘singing and screaming’ combo like most metalcore bands.
With this comment on the band’s use of screaming we must now address the issue that this brings. If you’re going to exclusively use harsh vocals then your band better be able to bring some melody to the songs through other means otherwise your music is going to suffer from being a bit dull. Unfortunately, Animus don’t manage to bring enough melody to the table and the whole EP soon becomes a lesson in one-chord chugging and double-bass drumming.
This is not to say that there aren’t some decent riffs in here. ‘Damnation’ starts with a huge groove that opens the EP with a real burst of intensity. ‘Home(less)’ also features some brilliant riffs and some even better leads, but the first real surprise of the EP comes with its title track which features some atmospheric use of acoustic guitars and piano. It’s then a real shame to hear these moments spoiled by an abundance of one-chord breakdowns and vocals that never stick with you. I couldn’t pinpoint a single moment when the vocals actually became memorable on the entire EP which is obviously a worrying prospect for the band’s future. Not a lot needed to be done to remedy this situation either. If Animus married their riffs with some gang vocals they could easily create some memorable passages that would help them stand out.
Animus’ unfortunate situation is that they don’t stand out. The band are a real casualty of modern metal. They prove exactly how dull the genre has become by making music that is fixated on breakdowns and getting kids moshing at shows. This mentality might make for an enjoyable mosh pit, but it doesn’t make for an enjoyable listen. Animus really need to give their guitarists more breathing space to bring more melody to their music because there’s only so many times a man can listen to a single chord being beaten within an inch of its life.
Animus’ ‘Fall of the Elite’ is re-released on March 3rd. Once again I can’t find any pre-order links for it anywhere so good job on that one.