Album Review: Black Anvil – As Was

By Rosie Walker

It’s been three years since New York’s very own Black Anvil adorned the world with original material. They just entered their tenth year as a band and their new release, ‘As Was’, celebrates that maturity gained with poignant excellence. This fourth studio album diligently expresses the elegant progression of musicianship and definitively expresses their original American black metal sound.

Black Anvil has created a monster of heaviness and soul with their new eight-track, 50 minute record. In this short time, the band constructs a journey of diverse brutality while cultivating a story of conviction and heart.

The opening track, ‘On Forgotten Ways’, tickles ears with rancid riffs and an atmosphere that oozes with thought provoking despair. This gritty quartet is known for not holding back and right off the bat, it’s clear that their reputation remains true on this album. As the album progresses, the lyrics began to grab and resonate. Vocalist and bass player Paul Delaney, screams or sings serenades about inner contemplation and tackles the big questions of life. The album has some thoughtful lyrical content precise enough to feel where the band is coming from, but universal enough that it can pertain to one’s very own life.

Talented drummer Raeph Glicken balances beautifully the job of beating breath into each and every song. From his double bass kick drum to his mighty blast beats, I recognize the quality of production when it comes to him taking the lead and when he plays to complement the powerful guitar work of Travis Bacon and Jeremy Sosville.

As the album reaches near its end with the tracks, ‘Two Keys: Here’s the Lock’ and ‘Ultra’, the sonic energy the band possesses soars to new heights. The themes of inner turmoil and darkness continue with P.D.’s venom-filled screams capturing the agony we as humans all face at one point or another.

Black Anvil’s ‘As Was’ has an earnest edge of diverse sound that accentuates their talent and intention. The expedition of the album is felt as each song drifts from black metal, to thrash metal, to atmospheric ambient goodness, and beyond. The picture painted and story told is bleak, but moving and distinct. Grab a copy. It’s a journey well worth taking.

Rating: 8/10

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Record Label: Relapse
Release Date: January 13th 2017

Track Listing:
1. On Forgotten Ways
2. May Her Wrath Be Just
3. As Was
4. Nothing
5. As An Elder Learned Anew
6. Two Keys: Here’s The Lock
7. The Way Of All Flesh
8. Ultra

Black Anvil links: facebook | twitter | instagram | bandcamp