Anasarca – Survival Mode

A friend of mine taped me a copy of this German band’s debut album from 1998 titled "Godmachine" and was a fine display of well-honed death metal that continued with "Moribund" two years later after which I lost track with them on the third album "Dying" that came out in 2004. There’s been nothing since, except for a demo also title "Survival Mode", from which all the tracks have been added to the new album except the intro piece. The album contains five new songs and I am assuming that those demo songs have been re-recorded for this new album which also boasts five bonus tracks which I’ll cover later.

I’ve always liked this bands style of death metal, it has precision and refinement without resorting to technical trickery maintaining a brutalising approach via expert musicianship and superbly crafted songs that continues with this new effort and in some respects sees the band increase the intensity. The demo songs alternate with the new songs as the album kicks off with ‘Drinking Blood’ as a short-lived intro leads into a massive prolonged vocal roar jutting against a mid-tempo salvo comprising a sharp riffing stance with bruising drums laden with sporadic blast beat forays and sets the scene fairly well if a little inauspicious which is quickly battered aside when ‘Survival Mode’ starts. The carpet bombing double bass lends the song an intrinsic catchiness and as the riffing drives the song forward you quickly absorb the overt melodiousness of the song. An intro starts ‘Cannibal’ that leads into a scorching riff adopting a stop-start structure before unleashing an insanely fast blast, something that this band does extremely well on this and previous releases.

The influences on the album are obvious from the speed of Morbid Angel like guitar riffing and lead breaks to outright sonic thuggery courtesy of Cannibal Corpse touch typified by ‘Touching The Void’. ‘Pacific Dread’ detonates into life with barraging blast beat before reining the pace in for the lyrics, though the pace isn’t slow generally, just slower for this band. The vocals are cavernous, deep gutter trawling bellows that suit the songs impeccably without resorting to grunts as the tune has a narrated vocal piece in the middle. The riff break in the song is awesome and reminds of early Sinister material, complete with the machine gunning snare blast. Closing the main album is ‘Endurance’, which has some trickery up its sleeve due to the guitar hook deployed amid a torrent of snare work which seems to get faster as the song progresses but is probably my imagination.

As I mentioned earlier the album is being released with five bonus tracks, two of which are re-recorded versions of ‘The Weird Ways’ and ‘Scorn’ from the debut "Godmachine" and three others that were recorded during the "Dying" album sessions but never released and comprise a song of their own titled ‘Paralyzed’ and two covers from Obituary and Vomiting Corpses. ‘The Weird Ways’ is shorter than the original and possesses a much bolder production but still contains the dual vocal styles of harsh and bark, which also applies to ‘Scorn’. Whether one is more superior to the other depends on your point of view, as the re-records obviously sound better than the originals. ‘Paralyzed’ matches the material of the album overall and possibly could have been just added to the release normally. The Obituary cover of ‘Ungodly Beings’ has been extended slightly as the intro riff is drifts left to right and with demonic laugh added. It is a good rendition staying true to the original musically. The Vomiting Corpse’s cover is called ‘Dogmas Ignored’ and again matches the original but with a supercharged production as the song is denser and far heavier but retains the hallmarks of the original. This is an excellent death metal album possessing reams of sonic violence and splattered with emboldened riffs, bludgeoning drum work and a gruesome vocal performance.

  1. Drinking Blood
  2. Survival Mode
  3. Cannibal
  4. Blue John
  5. Touching The Void
  6. 571
  7. Pacific Dread
  8. The Donner Party
  9. Endurance
  10. The Weird Ways (re-recorded, from the first album "Godmachine")
  11. Scorn (re-recorded, from the first album "Godmachine")
  12. Godly Beings (cover Obituary, "Dying" recording session)
  13. Paralyzed ((old-school-tribute, "Dying" recording session)
  14. Dogmas Ignored (cover Vomiting Corpses, "Dying" recording session)


Reviewer: twansibon
Jun 14, 2017
Next review: Epoch - Sacrosanct

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