Aenimus – Dreamcatcher review

Technically sublime, with a talent for experimental and progressive jazz oriented heavy stylistics and guitar wizardry. But it feels more like a showcase than an album 7.5/10Aenimus Nov
Hailing from the Bay Area, what certainly seems to be the US epicentre of all things thrash and death, Aenimus reveal their follow up to 2013’s Transcend Reality.

Compiled over the past three years, Dreamcatcher is a concept album that draws inspiration from horror novels and movies, where not only do the lyrics reflect these stories, but the music itself represents moments, emotions, and realisations from the characters of these classic horrors. The album comprises three tracks influences by The Shining, It and the Hannibal series with two for Deadzone and the final track is for Dreamcatcher.

The overarching theme is based on nightmare creatures and situations, ‘dream capturing’ if you will.
Jose Parodi designed the album art under the direction of the band with symbolic representations: an axe for The Shining, the spider for It, a clock for Deadzone and a death head moth for The Silence of The Lambs caught in the spiderweb of a dreamcatcher

The album was recorded by the band while mixing and mastering were handled by Jamie King (BTBAM, The Contortionist). The album features guest appearances from Mike Semesky (Intervals, The HAARP Machine), Jamie Hanks (I Declare WAR), Brian James (Fallujah) Sims Cashion and Leonardo Guzman.

Opening with Before the Eons which is based on the novel (/film) of It by Stephen King, the track revolves around the protagonist children confronting Pennywise and in turn their fears. With some spectacular Vai-esque trills and runs, I wish that fear-confrontation was this painless. You can check out the video here

Next up is Eternal and alternating stereo blast beats commence a slab of technical, progressive death metal, with a sweet clean chorus which contrasts melodically and elevates the track from the current similarly oriented pool of bands. Groovy and somewhat gothic with soaring clean vocals it is most refreshing. The Ritual takes off ferociously with guttural vocals, atmospheric synth breakdowns and punishing percussion. Progressive death metal with a hint of Born of Osiris synth wizardry to complement the emotive guitar riffs and solos and an unexpected fade out into a symphonic cinematic epic.

My Becoming featuring Mike Semesky (Interloper, ex-The HAARP Machine, adds a different aspect to a change in vein thematically. The contrasts are strong and it does convey changes and darkness. The Dark Triad is based on the Silence of the Lambs, incorporating the psychological ‘dark triad’ of narcissism, Machiavellianism and psychopathic personality traits that can identify a serial killer. Heavy grooves, sweeping guitars and an electronic base: it’s a personal favourite, I’m not sure what that means.

Between Iron and Silver is the longest and most mellow (in pace) of the tracks featuring magnificent vocals and tribal percussion with an interlude which leads into a symphonically orchestrated cinematic fade. Which is unnecessary but quite welcome. The Overlook is heavy, very heavy and imposing as is the bleaker Caretaker which ends in a further demonstration of skill with its surprisingly airy piano finale.

Second Sight commences with a spaciously ethereal ambience which is quickly overlaid with guttural vocals and frenetic musicianship. The Overlook is heavy, very heavy and imposing as is the bleaker Caretaker which ends in a further demonstration of skill with its surprisingly airy piano finale.
Second Sight
commences with a spaciously ethereal ambience which is quickly overlaid with guttural vocals and frenetic musicianship. The change in direction at the three minute mark with its clean vocals truly stands out while
Day Zero
brings us back to a more progressive/ djenty/ technical groove.

Dreamcatcher despite its ethereal symphonic start, metamorphoses from a cinematic epic into a darker, blissful riff-out with chimes and a sense of unease.

Technically sublime, with a talent for experimental and progressive jazz oriented heavy stylistics and guitar wizardry Aenimus return to showcase their skills in Dreamcatcher. But it does sound more like a showcase than an album. Each song is great, the overarching concept is great – but I feel as if I am missing something.

Aenimus DreamcatcherThe track list reads as follows:

1. Before the Eons
2. Eternal
3. The Ritual
4. My Becoming
5. The Dark Triad
6. Between Iron and Silver
7. The Overlook
8. Caretaker
9. Second Sight
10. Day Zero
11. Dreamcatcher

Dreamcatcher will be available on jewelcase CD, black vinyl LP and digitally. Pre-order your copy on all formats: nuclearblast.com/aenimus-dreamcatcher

Or you can buy from Amazon.

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