02. Carnot Engine
03. Portable Crematorium
04. Zero World
05. Infernal Machine
06. The Mind Is A Terrible Thing
07. Plastic Will
08. Against Architecture
09. In The Desert Sound Precedes Sight
10. Blood Meridian
11. Philosophy Of Failure
12. From The End Of The World
13. Standing On The Beach
2004 Level Plane Records
Mastodon incarnate Honestly, it’s the next best thing without sounding like a rip-off artist. This is meant in the best possible way, as hard as that is to believe coming from me. Being a huge fan of all previous Anodyne releases, as well as the aforementioned Mastodon, I was eagerly anticipating this latest offering from the band. With a slew of one-off 7” releases as well as previous records on Escape Artist Records, Anodyne was becoming a force to be reckoned with in the land of the bleak.
I hate to even fault this band in the slightest way, but throughout their career it has seemed like they had subtly changed their style ever-so-much to coincide with what band was most popular at the time. Isis was seemingly the main inspiration for "The Outer Dark" as is Mastodon likely the inspiration for this latest album. Whether this nuance is merely a musical evolution within the band or just an attempt to sell more albums, Anodyne never fails to deliver a record worthy of attention.
Although similarities to Mastodon’s rocked out stoner worship can easily be detected within the first chords of opener "Arctor," the main objective of this record is to beat the listener senseless. Take one listen to the album’s next two tunes, "Carnot Engine" and "Portable Crematorium" -- look me in the eyes after these songs are finished and tell me these dudes don’t mean business. The drum fills, as well as the harmonized guitar riffs, found on "Portable Crematorium" are the clearest instances of Anodyne's wrecking ball mentality. Notably though, Anodyne have sped things up dramatically on this album, whereas previous drone material would rarely achieve a comparable pace.
The majority of these songs are over before you even know they started. Shortly thereafter you arrive at the five-minute instrumental track, which in my eyes is a sitting duck on this album. It probably shouldn’t have made the record, as it truly kills the flow that Anodyne so voraciously establishes on the tracks before and after. The song apparently serves to showcase the drummer’s skills, with both feet and hand speed alike.
Bottom Line: If you have ever liked Isis, Neurosis, Mastodon, or Catharsis, you will definitely be into this latest Anodyne offering. Their bleak trademark sound is still present, yet they have improved the schematic side of their delivery - everything seems to be balancing out now.