Some times the best way to experience something is obliquely. You can engineer that for yourself or you can rely on a band like ANIMUS MORTIS to operate in the corner of your eye. Listening to “Thresholds Of Insanity” is like viewing a battle on one of the planes of Moorcock's Multiverse, you can see the head crushing and limb lopping right in front of you, but it still seems a million miles away.
ANIMUS MORTIS use the production like a separate instrument, cloaking the whole in a sense of deja vu. Poke it and it will wobble like jelly. What is clear though, is that however much the band try to obscure the draw of this MCD, it does not hide the fact that this is a joy to behold. There is a hypnotic tone to the music, facilitated by melancholic drone that like some siren coaxes you towards a wrecking on granite, spume splashed rocks.
Comprised of four tracks proper, the meeting of two demos, it shows the artistic ethos hasn't changed overmuch between, though the execution shows a slight variance. The most noticeable aspect of the first two tracks is the ice-breaker bass that ploughs between the guitars and drums. The tone is solid and flat and threatens the integrity of the foundations of your building. It grumbles and threatens at the forefront and so pushes ANIMUS MORTIS above the parapet for that alone. “Dying Murmur” is anything but, it kicks down the doors sending splinters flying everywhere. It courses along like a dam collapse, sweeping away everything in its path, yet above the violence mothers weep over their loss, deep emotions personifying the carnage. Vocals are shrieked from some far away hilltop, slightly muffled by the distance whilst the guitars surge a black tide as lead refrains porpoise through the wave crests.
After a superfluous deep space intermission, the second set begins. Again the pace is rapid but this time the bass is more balanced but still obvious. The fury is mocked by the plaintive song of the lead guitar. The songs are slightly more structured and so more engaging, there is an imperious air to them but the mist of the production still masks proceedings to some degree. This opaqueness is an effective contrivance which actually allows the band to demonstrate their talent above any sense of reliance on technology.
On the back half the other noticeable difference is that the drums sound less organic, relatively speaking and so more direct, on “Ethereal Dimensions” the snare is battered within an inch of its life. Though the pace is relentless throughout, “Thresholds Of Insanity” does not sound like a blast-fest, the counterpoint of those mournful melodies prevents it and more importantly involves you. The band are in the throws of an album proper and I would hope that they continue in the same vein exhibited here.
ANIMUS MORTIS have shown here that whatever murk you use to shade your endeavours, true talent will out. This MCD grabbed me straight away and though I can see many dismissing it within moments, that's their loss. It is hard to find music that devastates on a fundamental level and yet simultaneously ties your emotions in knots. After this you can call me Mr Sheepshank. (Online June 13, 2006)