Review: Anima Mortuum - The Throne

Arthur Ramsey
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Band: Anima Mortuum

Album: The Throne

Genre: Black Metal

Record Label: Headlight Productions

Release Date: May 15, 2021

Album length: 48 Minutes

Track list:

  1. Under The Moonlight 1:26

  2. Recursive Tyranny 6:33

  3. Graveyard Dust 5:53

  4. My Skull 4:25

  5. Embrace The Dead (Part 1) 5:11

  6. Falling Into Abjection 6:18

  7. Claws of Doom 4:50

  8. Ephermeral Existence 5:45

  9. The Throne Is No Longer Dark 5:19

  10. Embrace The Dead (Part 2) 1:51

The first thing that grabbed my attention with this release is the excellent cover art. A mysterious setting, with the moonlighting a seemingly broken and barren throne. It’s a dreary scene at first glance, something certainly not uncommon to black metal music, and the album opener “Under the Moonlight” only reinforces that vibe, but don’t get settled in thinking you’re in comfortable territory. It doesn’t take long for the track “Recursive Tyranny” to let you know that this is not your typical black metal record, as it expertly shifts gears and slams the listener out of nowhere with excellent thrash riffage and a soaring guitar solo. There’s never a dull moment in this track, and it sets the stage for the rest of what’s coming on this album.

Keeping the listener guessing (and head-banging) is (or should be) the goal of every metal band and Anima Mortuum does this with ease. Whether it’s frantic blast beats that seem like they could teeter out of control at any moment, anthemic shout-a-long choruses, the haunting bells of an old Church, swampy Celtic Frost style riffs, or killer time changes and guitar solos, there’s always something here to keep your attention. The production of the album is also excellent, allowing all the brilliant musicianship of Zvi Tacussis and Sergio Rivera to be fully appreciated.

It’s a common thing in online forums or social media groups for people to ask for recommendations of bands who sound like (insert band here) and I can see this album being brought up a lot in these very situations. Are you into old-school early underground metal like the aforementioned Celtic Frost? This album has it (and tramples over anything Tom Warrior has put out since Frost’s heyday). Do you like black metal in the style of the infamous Norwegian bands of the 1990s like Mayhem and Darkthrone? It’s here. Fans of Emperor, Old Man’s Child, Death, Dimmu Borgir, and similar bands are all going to find something to love here (and though they’re a little more below the radar, this album also makes me think of early Swordmaster, which is not a bad thing at all to this writer). There really is something for everyone here who is into extreme metal of any kind.

But where these other bands often wallow in dark and bleak subjects, this isn’t so with Anima Mortuum. Vocalist Zvi screams “The throne is no longer dark!” and suddenly the cover art’s message comes to life. In the epic that is The Throne, evil and wickedness have led many astray away from the light, obscuring them from the truth while an unrighteous king sits upon the throne ruling his kingdom unjustly. However, in the end, these evil powers will be thrown asunder and the throne’s emptiness is cause for celebration, as now, the True King will sit upon it. The triumph of Christ and believers over the powers of the darkness that surround them is a recurrent theme throughout the album and much like the music, but the lyrics and themes are never handled in a trite manner, instead unfolding in ways that keep the listener interested to see what comes next.

And that’s where this album leaves me, interested to see what the next album will bring because this one is absolutely excellent and I can’t wait to see how they can top this one. Until then, this will definitely be in my regular rotation — which isn’t something that can be said for a good deal of newer metal releases.

Rating: 8.5 / 10

Favorite track: Graveyard Dust