Band: Anarchÿ | Album:Sentïence | Genre: Progressive thrash metal | Year: 2022
From: St. Louis, USA | Label: Anarchötic Audio
For fans of: Coroner, Vektor, Toxik, Superfluous umlauts
Thrash metal is a genre I like a lot when it’s done well, but there simply don’t seem to be that many quality thrash bands nowadays. There’s plenty of amazing output from the mid ‘80s through the early ‘90, Vektor’s music is amazing, and Voivod is still doing respectable work, but prog-thrash isn’t exactly the most flourishing sound out there.
Anarchÿ is a two-piece based out of St. Louis, and their debut full-length album Sentïence does a great job of scratching that prog-thrash itch. The songs are propulsive and masterfully played, and the breakneck pace of the music keeps the listener stuck to their music-player of choice. Even the album art and extraneous umlauts do an incredible job of conjuring this micro-genre’s heyday.
After the short, high-octane intro “Realmz.exe”, the first proper song, “D.E.S.T.R.O.Y.”, opens with neoclassical licks before launching into an off-kilter but powerful main riff. The vocals are hoarsely shouted, and the verses are punctuated with weird, wonky guitar runs and eerie synth pads.
What follows this is the album’s obvious centerpiece: the 32-minute “The Spectrum of Human Emotion”, described by the band as a “7-part Shakespearean thrash metal rock opera.”
Following a brief, shouted couplet, the band launches into lightning-fast riffs. The music is tense; odd, Voivod-y chords are sprinkled in for satisfying contrasts. Piano and synth crop up occasionally too, adding great sonic and textural depth to this riff-a-thon. Part I, titled “Overture”, features plenty of those odd, slightly-dissonant chords. The production is spot-on as well. Everything is clear enough to be heard, without being too glossy.
Part II, “Fratricide” opens on a quieter note, with speedy, nervous Spanish guitar. That introduction soon gives way to a dark, rumbling thrash riff which pairs against something much more grand. This section features impressive soloing, and the guitar tones nearly mimic an overdriven synthesizer. Even during a quiet moment, the rage is obvious, with the vocals being shouted and processed in such a way as to sound confined or restrained. Part II closes just as it opened: with the same acoustic guitar.
“Rodenticide”–Part III–wastes no time jumping right into things. Flavors of neoclassical metal acts like Stratovarius or Yngwie Malmsteen are evident in the lead guitar melodies. Part IV, “Conscience Does Make Cowards”, meanwhile, opens with a groovy bass lick, and the verses evoke Coroner’s best work. The riffs are somehow both tight and ragged, with staccato vocals being shouted over top. Synth pads are again deployed to great dramatic effect.
Part IV also sees the band slow down a bit, with some massive, lurching walls of guitar that make for a truly pummeling breakdown. This is also as good a place as any to compliment the lyricism. The author clearly has a fantastic way with words. He evokes Shakespeare’s style without directly quoting the bard.
An ascendent guitar line leads into Part V, “Ecstasy”. The main riff is a blitz of low, rumbling notes fleshed out with ethereal synth textures. As this movement progresses, there are some herky-jerky start-stop moments, and some themes from earlier in this opus are revisited.
Part VI, “Duello”, opens with some nods to Bach and a hopeful riff. More classical ideas pop in and out of this movement as it progresses, and a lot of focus is given to the rapid, Baroque arpeggios being played on twin guitars. Bass even gets a solo at one point!
This enormous piece ends with “Requiem”. Warm acoustic guitar and electric piano make this quite the shift from the preceding half-hour. It eventually turns into a wonderful, glorious shred-fest, and it’s a fantastic send-off. Despite its enormous length, this song is entirely digestible. Never does it feel like it’s dragging on too long or repeating itself.
Following this monstrous piece is the two-second interlude “Ë” and then “Enter the Singularity”. This track feels almost straightforward in its opening, but it doesn’t take long for Anarchÿ to deploy some fun tonal weirdness. I really like the way acoustic guitar is used as a lead instrument over a fully-electric backing arrangement.
Another short piece–the 37-second “Waylaid”–leads into “Abstract Lexical Abyss”, itself a sub-two-minute cut. The neoclassical flavors show up quite prominently on this instrumental, and it serves as a strong intro to “The Greatest Curse”. The opening riff sounds straight off Time Does Not Heal with its dark, progressive style. The verse utilizes thrash’s signature aggression alongside constantly-shifting composition and meter. Despite being under 8 minutes, this song traverses an impressive amount of territory.
The album closes on another pair of short songs. “Atheus Mortem Redux” is a weird little instrumental that opens with plinking keys and squealing strings, though guitars slowly take over as the piece progresses. The final 30 seconds consist of some peculiar Latin-flavored percussion. And this album ends on the marvelously-titled, 7-second “Ÿ (More Umlauts, More Metal!)”.
This album also features a pair of bonus tracks, both of which are covers. One is Vektor’s “Accelerating Universe”, and the other is HeXeN’s “Nocturne”. Both are wonderfully performed, and they’re fun inclusions, but I’m glad they’re bonus tracks. They don’t really fit in with the record as a whole.
Sentïence is a fantastic album. It sounds fresh but faithful to the roots of prog-thrash, and it is absolutely brimming with original ideas. The songs are structured wonderfully, and everything here is incredibly engaging. “The Spectrum of Human Emotion” is the obvious star of this record, but the other compositions are thoughtful as well. Everything fits together in a very satisfying way.