Flesh of the Stars – Anhilla (Review)

Flesh of the StarsThis is the third album from US doom band Flesh of the Stars.

How time flies. It was only a couple of years ago that Flesh of the Stars impressed the Hell out of me with their very endearing debut album, Hide. Since then, I’ve somehow missed out on them releasing a second album, and they’re now on their third release, Anhilla. Turns out they’re quite the prolific band.

Flesh of the Stars have continued to progress their sinister and dark brand of traditionally influenced doom metal. On Anhilla, however, they seem to have developed the darker, introspective and melancholic side of their sound. This works really well and sees their doom taking on aspects of 70s-style progressive rock.

The guitars, even when they’re at their most simple, display lots of nuance and subtlety of playing, resulting in riffs that feel multi-textured and vibrant. This is occasionally in contrast to the dark, minimalistic feeling that they can also project, making for a pleasantly unusual juxtaposition.

Combined with the other instruments and sounds, which include some lovely melodies, scattered piano and keyboard enhancements, the music on Anhilla is a leap forward from that of their debut album. Anhilla shows a band that are both capable and comfortable with writing engaging music that takes traditional doom metal and layers it with introspective post-rock, progressive rock and more than enough emotive content to keep anyone happy.

The songs are well written and have plenty of good ideas that are finely realised. They all flow into each other and the album is well-paced. The progressive overtones seamlessly blend with the doom aspects of the music, creating a fully-fledged listening experience that takes the listener on a journey throughout its 46 minute playing time.

The vocalist’s voice is better than ever too. His delivery is sometimes subtle, but always has presence. He doesn’t leap out of the music like some singers do, but instead works with it; his voice is an integral layer of the music’s identity, and his performance is nothing short of stellar. Female vocals have been added to the mix too at one point.

Very impressive. If you thought Flesh of the Stars were good before, then you should hear them now. Anhilla is the sound of a band coming of age and spreading their wings.

Essential listening.

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