Anti-: opposing in effect or activity
-Cosm: world, universe
Anticosm: a fucking awesome band.
It all comes down to semantics. While I wait for Merriam-Webster to accept my submission for that definition, I figured I might as well tell you about Anticosm, an uncompromisingly dark, thrashy band from New Jersey. My insatiable thirst for riffs has led me to the band’s doorstep – they graciously offer unto me a palate of rough, tasty melodies and cosmic influence with The Call of the Void. Their third full-length release, they’ve come quite a way from their DIY-esque production, practically using an entire can of Armor All to polish this new effort to a well-hewn sheen for modern audiences while retaining the blackened nature of their speedy metal.
With all this in mind, in addition to how high quality it all is, this is the album that may garner Anticosm some well-deserved recognition. At least I hope! The quintet certainly didn’t waste any time in grabbing my attention with the first track, “Viral”. Guitar has a menacing tone and a breakneck speed, bass has a grimy and hearty vibrato to it, vocals are guttural and savage, drums are ceaseless and play around enough to stand out as well as keep the rest of the chaos in order. This is pretty much how the rest of the album goes – where it sets itself apart from the rest is by being catchier, better written, and not overstaying its welcome. Yes, less is more sometimes.
Sometimes. It’s hard not to listen to the frantic melodies in “Scorched Earth” or the album’s title track (just drop ‘The’ from the title) and not see a shining example of progressively-minded thrash metal. Every note just hits real well, it makes you bounce, and it’s all coated in a spacey tone reminiscent of other top-notch prog thrash acts. “Somewhere Between Life and Death” is a monster of groove, contrasting the depth of heaviness this and other tracks kick you into with riffs that burrow into your head in a way I haven’t seen since the Cerebral Bore from Turok 2: Seeds of Evil. “Behold the Venom Crystals” is similarly infectious, embodying all the high-flying energy of a warpspeed space trip. The best is hard to nail down because the album is so consistently and confidently at its apex, it’s just a matter of which riffs speak to you the most. For me? All of them do.
The surprise is easily “Never Enough”. Going out with a rip and a tear, the track really kicks the blackened rock ‘n’ roll into high gear and calls back to 80s metal like Venom. It’s super mean and completely unexpected, even with the tinges of black metal throughout the rest of the album. With that, seemingly the only thing that could have gone wrong, I’ve come to the conclusion that The Call of the Void is a veritable standout in a year with a lot of fast instrumentation and dark aesthetics.
The only criticism I can levy against this album isn’t even a criticism, it’s a personal nit-pick. There’s a couple too many track fade-ins and fade-outs. This type of music would benefit from explosive introductions – we see those on “Scorched Earth” and “Behold the Venom Crystals”. If a band wants a more atmospheric or slower start to a track, I always prefer for a band to achieve that instrumentally like we get with the title track or “Viral”. Still, I appreciate a band trying to mix things up.
Anticosm‘s polished aggression may be against the world itself, channeling an otherworldly rhythm and spirit, but it’s so profoundly welcoming with its approachable structure and tone. I liken it to Havok – thrash greats that may not revolutionize the genre, but color within the established borders to great effect with a couple creative freedoms taken to set themselves apart. Wonderful stuff. You shall not resist The Call of the Void.