Es Taut came out of nowhere in 2018 and blew me away. Its multifaceted sound was as impressive and emotive as it was accomplished and well-delivered. No wonder it appeared high on my end of year list. Due to this, Anthaupt had a great deal of expectation placed upon it before I even heard a single second of its 66-minute duration.
The music of Soldat Hans is dark, textured, and heavy. It consists of elements taken from the doom, post-metal, post-rock, jazz, ambient, drone, folk, psychedelic, progressive rock, and experimental styles, all of which are tastefully incorporated into the band’s idiosyncratic and characterful approach to music. In my last review of their work I used bands such as Neurosis, Cult of Luna, Isis, Amenra, Sigur Rós, Crippled Black Phoenix, 5ive, Earth, and Kayo Dot as a rough starting point for understanding the band’s sound, and this still holds.
Anthaupt is not just a journey into sound, but a full-blown exploration of it. In addition to the standard instruments you would expect, synths, organs, trombone, and cello all have notable parts to play in Soldat Hans’ rich music. As does the charismatic voice of guest vocalist Carol Schuler, whose presence in the music is a force to be reckoned with. The other vocals on the album, (from main singer and another guest Philip Harrison), are a mixture of different styles, ranging from emotive clean singing to harsh screams that are near-static in their delivery. This is not an album focused on vocals though, as the holistic musical experience comes first and foremost. In some ways it might be better to think of Anthaupt as an instrumental album that simply has vocals, so immersive is it.
The non-standard songs are layered and richly expressive pieces of art. The music slowly unfolds before you with grace and subtlety, yet doesn’t lack in direct bite when needed, (such as the punk section in Speechwriter). The band lay out an absorbing path for the listener to follow, with many wonderful sights to see along the way. As a creation Anthaupt is highly atmospheric and infused with emotional depth. This is music to savour and get lost in, and not something to be lightly consumed as if it were commonplace or normal.
The high expectations I had due to the quality of Es Taut have been more than met, and Soldat Hans have crafted yet another masterpiece on Anthaupt.
Essential listening for any fan of challenging, rewarding, exceptional music.