INTESTINE BAALISM are somewhat surprisingly one of many great Death Metal acts hailing from Japan. These guys have been rocking around the clock since the mid-nineties with slightly blackened, often melodic, but wholly deathly Metal. Their debut, 1997's "Anatomy of the Beast" shows the band at their least melodic, but that's not saying much considering the brilliantly atmospheric solos and Gothenburg-esque harmonies on offer here, which really makes the band a serious contender for the title of world Melodic Death champion alongside bands such as DARK TRANQUILITY or HYPOCRISY.
The bulk of the album carries a very thrashy old-school Death vibe, with the occasional break into melody best demonstrated in the title track and the truly killer "A Place Their Gods Left Behind". The band has produced consistently excellent material throughout their three-album career thus far, but there's no denying the air of comparitive simplicity to this release when the proceeding "Banquet In The Darkness" displays a number of more progressive elements, most notably another step closer towards 'that Swedish sound' so often imitated. Conversely speaking, this does grant "Anatomy of the Beast" a rawer, more energetic feel at the cost of the well-loved apocalyptic atmosphere that Melo-Death has a knack of conjuring.
That's not to say this considerably more traditional approach begets a less-technical one. Whilst it's true that "Anatomy of the Beast" isn't exactly overflowing with shredding sections to make the Hoffman brothers scoff (sorry), its Death sections are typically broken up between stretches of palm-muted audial goodness which serves to give each track it's own mark within this truly standout record.
I'd say that it's pretty damn difficult not to like what's on offer here, INTESTINE BAALISM are quite simply brilliant at the style they play, and it'd be a Metal-crime to miss out on this, or the bands two follow-up albums; "Banquet in the Darkness" and "Ultimate Instinct". An absolute must-listen.
(Online June 18, 2012)