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Anomalie: Refugium

Doleful deliberations from Europe’s centre ground

DSBM (or depressive black metal for formality) is a funny old thing.

It can be truly stunning – Xasthur, Lifelover, Totalselfhatred (their first album) – or it can be somewhat cringeworthy – Totalselfhatred (their second album) – and then there’s the DSBM that sits in the middle, not really pushing any boundaries but certainly doing something of interest. For Anomalie, hailing from Austria, the middle ground is where we find them on Refugium.

There are moments of pure bliss on opener In Fear Of Tomorrow, with shimmering and beautiful guitar work contrasting sharply with the thrust of the nearly spoken, defiantly shouted vocal. A switch to a soaring clean voice pushes the song into bittersweet territory and there seems to a glimmer of hope in Anomalie’s soundscapes.

Refugium is a solid, listenable work that is sure to stand the band in good stead going forward. Anyone with an interest in the genre should give it a chance as Spiritual Distortion and Between Reality And The World Beyond are worth the effort alone, even if sometimes it’s all a little too obvious.