Following on from 2017’s well-received Visions, (via an EP I haven’t heard), Tranceformation contains 44 minutes of new material, and comes with a newly-focused direction to boot. A rough reference point for what Tranceformation sounds like would be a mix of bands such as Schammasch, Enslaved, and old Anomalie, although to be honest this is only a very approximate guide at best, especially as some songs have a modern doom metal flavour too, (most notably opening track).
As the album title suggests, Tranceformation deals in ritualistic post-blackened soundscapes. The songs are heavy on the atmosphere, and easy to fall deeply into without realising it. Anomalie have moved their sound forward into increasingly introspective, ethereal, and hypnotic waters, but without losing what made their music so good in the first place. The dreamlike quality of parts of the music can be disarming, and sometimes surprisingly dark and unsettling. The album still has a healthy amount of metallic content though, its focus has just been altered somewhat in places.
Post-black metal, post-metal, folk, doom, shoegaze, and ambient influences are all brought together into a richly crafted collection of music. Although black metal is still part of the Anomalie experience, on Tranceformation this aspect of the band’s sound has been occasionally pulled back in favour of a different approach. There’s more of a post-metal feel overall, (albeit tinged with the band’s other influences), and the record has a greater emphasis on atmospheric delivery, sometimes via softness and calm, sometimes via melodic strength and power.
The vocals are far more cleanly delivered on the band’s new album, and the band’s singer performs these with great character and presence. This is probably the largest area of transformation in Anomalie’s sound, and I have to say I like how it has worked. He still occasionally delivers his aggressive barks, and there are also guest harsh vocals on two songs from the singers of Enthroned and Rotting Christ, so fans of the band’s earlier vocal style should not be disappointed.
Tranceformation is a bold step forward for Anomalie. The increased preference for post-metal songwriting and clean singing compliments the band’s existing core of emotive blackened delivery very well, and this is a very striking, engaging, and compelling experience.
Very highly recommended.