Anatomy of Habit, "Even if it Takes a Lifetime"
It certainly does not seem as if it has been seven years since Ciphers + Axioms, but it has, and Even if it Takes a Lifetime is the first music Anatomy of Habit have released since then. The heaviness that pervaded their previous two albums and debut EP is here for sure, but there is also a greater sense of melodicism, spearheaded by band leader Mark Solotroff‚Äôs (Bloodyminded, The Fortieth Day) vocal approach. The album still sounds like the same band, but one that has solidified into a pummeling, yet nuanced machine that is as complex as it is heavy, resulting in their best work to date.
The album opens with "A Marginal World" and, at less than seven minutes, is the shortest song the band has created so far. With the limited duration the band wastes no time launching in to a heavy chug by rhythm section Skyler Rowe and Sam Wagster, nicely complemented by Solotroff's bandmate in Bloodyminded Isidro Reyes' metal clattering accents. Solotroff's booming voice comes right in quickly, his stentorious delivery as severe as ever. Rapid fire snare and cymbals soon come in, upping the tempo and giving a slightly less doom laden feel compared to their other work. There are a lot of transitions given its short length, but it leads to a complex, yet immediate sound from the start.
"Your Pure Breath" blends right in from "A Marginal World," leading from a droning tone into sparse guitar.Bass and dramatic vocals eventually come in, and then the heavy, pounding drums and squalling guitar.It is certainly heavy, but not overly oppressive, and the slow depressive flow highlights the squalling guitar and subtle metallic percussion.The structure towards the end is especially notable, hinting at some of the band‚Äôs less overt post-punk influences via Alex Latus' guitar work.
Album closer "Now We Finally Know Ourselves" clocks in at 19 minutes and thus feels most in line with previous works from the band.It beautifully shifts from subtle echoing guitar, pulsating electronics, and understated metal work before locking into that insistent throb the band does so well.There are multiple phases of heavy pound versus open reflective passages, keeping the dynamic fresh and varied.There is even a bit of lush organ thrown into the mix.For all its dour heaviness, there seems to be an almost positive, uplifting end with Solotroff singing the title of the song, sounding almost like a new beginning.Compared to previous works (and his other projects), Solotroff's lyrics seem more personal this time around, with an emphasis on love, loss, and relationships with others.
Solotroff's commanding, declarative voice is certainly present, but he has obviously has added a bit more melodicism that complements the music perfectly.It is still undeniably him (and Anatomy of Habit), but it is an added depth that makes Even if it Takes a Lifetime unique, congealing into something more song-like and musical compared to the relentless heaviness that defined their previous works.There is a second album pending that was recorded at the same time, and I am certainly curious how it compares, but even just more of this would be fine by me.
Samples can be found here.