Osmose has yet another jewel in ANOREXIA NERVOSA. This is one very accomplished quintet of Frenchmen, serving forth an entreé of masterful Black Metal with pure class and style. I had previously been unfamiliar with A.N., so this, along with the new MÖRK GRYNING, were big shocks for me as far as 2001-releases went. I'm beginning to see how expansive a genre Black Metal is becoming, now that the "ultra-tr00ness"-complex is fading, and the music is coming back to the forefront. 'Bout time!
Now, let it be made clear that the formula used on "New Obscurantis Order" is NOT original. It's been used before, countless times in fact. "Symphonic Black Metal with keyboards" is far from unique nowadays, but where so many fail to succeed, A.N. deliver nothing but the goods. Brilliant, melodic guitar-riffs mesh with superb keyboard-punctuations, supported by rock-solid drum-blasts and emotive vocal cries. We also get some exquisite eclectic influences added to the formula on songs like "Stabat Mater Dolorosa", which begins with a mesmerizing female vocal intro, of a musical style I'm not familiar with, but sounding witch-like in her disturbing timbre (see: album cover).
An equally impressive production-job on display here as well. Every instrument clear, but also mixed down very well, especially the guitars and keyboards, which blend together superbly. As a whole it is much more balanced than the new DIMMU, which I found to be a tad bit keyboard-heavy. This production, while not as massive as said album, is much more "suggestive" and less deliberate, giving a sense of displacement to the listener, especially through headphones.
There is no question that this band is onto some great things if they further explore this musical format. My only minor quip is with the songs being rhythmically similar as the album progresses, but that is really quite trivial, and easily overshadowed by the top-notch performance of the actual music. Special mention goes out to the keyboardist, who's solo piano-performance on "Hail Tyranny" is simply brilliant. Black Metal Beethoven this guy is!
100% enthusiasm from Yours Truly here...also: best album-cover of 2001. So brilliantly disturbing!