The stunning piece of cover art by Alexander Brown reflects the mood, attitude and overall feel of the music which conjures large sum of emotional connection. Never a doubt in the first place with the hint of musicianship being displayed on The Drear which gives birth to a monumental piece of work entitled Netherwards. The mere tagging of doom/death will be misleading. The sound delves into sludge laden death to blackened doom to funeral doom and so forth. The bold approach to the contemporary scene with keeping old school worship in tact is nothing short of applauding. Anhedonist has arrived.
If memory serves right, my first introduction to Anhedonist was through a mixtape curated by Coffinworm last year. I followed the path to The Drear and enjoyed it to some extent but Netherwards is completely on its own league. I was in great anticipation after coming across the news of a new album and that anticipation reached to another level when the album cover and second track Estrangement got premiered just a few days back. Now finally I got hold of the whole thing and it's growing on me like a weed. Each of the four tracks with a total spinning time of 40 minutes calls for utter devastation in the vein of causing grief and misery.
The opening track Saturnine starts off like the calmness before the storm and after around 2 minutes of floating, the first riff strikes. The doom laden death sound filters raw filthiness of Incantation, Disma and Coffins. You'll get hooked to the proceedings and there's no way out. The production is dense and also contains the perfect edginess. You can even hear clearly the guitar scream when the technique of pinch harmonics has been applied. When Anhedonist slows things down on Estrangement with funeral doom infused with melodic passages, it shows the band can successfully nurture every end of doom metal either it's Disembowelment or Loss. There is a vast difference between making a plan and executing it perfectly. It's mesmerizing how Anhedonist applied each of their ideas and polished the final product flawlessly. The track Carne Liberatus shows further variations. It even enters into blackened death territory in the manner of Mitochondrion. The strong hold of Anhedonist is slow/mid paced melodic doom channel which takes full effect on Inherent Opprobrium again. In mid way through, the track turns into doom/death sludginess of the early '90s era. The transition continues alternating between guttural and screeching vocals. This 15- minute long closer leaves a memorable mark with the presence of enough dynamics.
Netherwards is a journey into our very dreams and emotions with plentiful of dark and hollow atmosphere. Imagine walking into a void of nothingness. It's a cloud of unknowing. You can sense that a shadow is approaching; once closer, it will take away all the pain.