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(Godz Ov War Productions/Third Eye Temple)

jools green

Jools Green

animus mortis

Chilean Black Metal quartet Animus Mortis sit firmly outside of the box with their second full length, 'Testimonia', with a sound that in many respects leans more towards a post Metal one, implementing a range of elements from many different genres that cleverly work alongside each other in dark poetic harmony rather than mixed in a fusion.

The tracks emanate a dark haunting quality akin to Agalloch, an esoteric eeriness reminiscent of Voices or Akercocke and at times the manic "off the wall" quality associated with Anaal Nathrakh with a combination of jangly rhythm guitar, slow, sorrow laden melodies that are somewhat introspective, in a good way, so the result is darkly blissful rather than morose, particularly with the addition of a superbly diverse vocal range, a mix of deep echoing growls, screams, folk like chants and shouting that has a deranged edge along with often complex drum work that adds to this ever changing mental imagery with its myriad of rhythms and patterns that enhance and bring the whole audio picture to life with its subtle prominence.

Each track is very unique from the next but there is also commonality, strongly linking all the tracks and the album begins, as it ends, on a light drone and simple "temple style bell" notes, coming full circle.

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One of the standout features, firstly on 'REM Manifesto', is the clean, post rock guitars that are such a stunning contrast and a forerunner to the intense blackened riffing, dense drum rhythms and deep, distant mournful vocals that manage to draw you in making it a straight forward but hugely effective track and this post rock guitar work is revisited on 'Hyperbole Of Senses' but more abundantly and here there's also a very spacey mood to the guitar work with the sound elevating and becoming more dense but the dream like mood remains with deep clean vocals that echo hauntingly, tailing to a scream.

Further in the riffs become dirtier, heavier and more intense with the vocals developing a tortuous harsh edge, closing on shouts, growls and spoken lyrics, making it such a superb, powerful track.

The album becomes more complex as it progresses and there's no gentle easing in with 'Testimonia', a track which is manic and crushing from the offset with hypnotic loops of riffing and a harsh vocal delivery that progresses to a demented growl, all running over a haunting, clean vocal backing layer.

animus mortis

As much as I loved the whole album the final two tracks, the penultimate 'LVX' and final piece 'Vibrations From The Immaterial', really stood out for me. Both have a profusion of that jangly guitar work that pops up on the preceding tracks, alongside the ever present intense riffing that rises and falls and is also in abundance across the release. This whole mix on these two tracks reminded me a little of Akercocke, particularly when placed alongside the vocals, which range between semi spoken, rasping harsh vocals and tortuous screams with the whole sound almost becoming crushingly oppressive, in a very good way, on the final track.

'Testimonia' is a great album in its entirety, with each track possessing the ability to stand alone, also the more you listen the more you discover as this is an album that unravels itself and reveals its intricate complexities with each subsequent listen and keeps on giving.

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