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Animosity Empires

1. Thieves 2. Commoditism 3. Holy Shackles 4. Empires 5. The Black Page 6. Life Advocate 7. Manhunt 8. Plutocracy 9. Shut It Down
2005 Black Market Activities
Our score 8

by Sean Loiselle

I won't even pretend to be a connoisseur of death metal. I know very little about the current roster of Metal Blade or Century Media; it's just not that interesting to me. But Animosity's new CD has really blown me away. Hailing from San Francisco, where K Swiss and G Unit are more popular than Cannibal Corpse and Napalm Death, somehow these guys managed to find one another and put out a really, really enjoyable death metal record. I guess to the uninitiated, like myself, it's easy to draw musical comparisons to The Red Chord or Pig Destroyer, minus the schizophrenic, ADD song structures. But instead of relying on jumping all over the map, they opt for a really organic song structure that flows together seamlessly. Throughout the entire album there isn't a single transition that makes you pause or cringe, which to me says a lot, because I frequently am put off by this sort of metal because it seems so unnatural. And these guys don't ride any gimmick - there are blast beats, but they're used sparsely enough that they're actually engaging when they come in. There are some solos, but they're few and far between. The songs all clock in at around the three minute mark, meaning they don't drag on and on and on going back from chorus to verse to chorus ad nausea. They're tasteful and exercise a really appropriate amount of repetition in riffs and scales, which is something I can't say for most of their contemporaries. Usually I like to address the production separately from the playing, but it's hard to with this. The guitar tones remind me of Misery Index if they had a bit more warmth. They don't overuse the Swedish guitar leads, nor do they just chug away. The playing is never obnoxious or cheesy, and their restraint makes for quite an interesting listen. The drumming isn't hollow, tinny, or distant unlike a lot of metal records I hear. It's also ridiculously intricate, and I don't think the guy rests with one steady beat for more than six seconds anywhere on the record. The entire production just comes together so well, I'm surprised that I've never heard of Castle Ultimate Studios or Zack Ohren because he knows his shit. The vocals, which are generally of the deep throaty growl variety with the occasional sparse strained yell, are quite competent. He doesn't sound like he's trying to be Guy Kozowyk, or the singer from As I Lay Dying, unlike most up-and-coming bands. He sticks to his guns and it sounds pretty unique to me. The packaging for the CD, by Paul Romano from Work Hardened, is fantastic. Instead of opting for the normal imagery of skulls, demons, horns, red and black and the like - he uses a dirty aquatic palette revolving around two sickly looking monsters representing cities fighting one another (metaphorically the battle of the Empires, as per the name of the CD). It's so nice to see a metal record with balls that has absolutely no red ink anywhere near it. Bottom Line: I apologize if I can't properly convey how intensely enjoyable this record is due to my fleeting familiarity with the genre. But I think the fact that this record appeals to someone generally uninterested in the genre speaks very well for Animosity. Why these guys are on Black Market and not its parent label, Metal Blade, is beyond me, because they possess the talent and energy of every band on the roster. While these Animosity aren't going to be as popular as As I Lay Dying, I think most of us realize truly talented bands frequently get passed over because they're not jumping on fashionable new trends. Point is - if you're inclined toward metal at all, this release won't disappoint.

Comments (28) post new comment
goreintheface_ 9/5/2005 7:22:48 PM

one of my favorite bands

fsovercrooks_ 9/5/2005 7:32:32 PM

oh how i loves me my animosity. check out the taste of blood if you like these guys....animosity and us share a member :D

retch_ 9/5/2005 7:54:33 PM

really good shit

jerseyislame_ 9/5/2005 8:07:12 PM

8 is the highest reviews go nowadays

Lochlan_ 9/5/2005 8:09:44 PM

Seriously f*cking great album.

tgomkills_ 9/5/2005 8:32:47 PM

san fran is home to a shit ton of brutal thrash and metal so it really isnt impossible to find some good musicins in san fran

vaginalslamdance_ 9/5/2005 8:42:39 PM

san fran is also home to lots of AIDS & gaygols omgwtfz0rs

Michael_ 9/5/2005 9:00:12 PM

Good band.

what_is_wrong_with_you_ 9/5/2005 9:02:52 PM

well written, honest review. will check this out.

whitelambpowergoat_ 9/5/2005 9:06:32 PM

this band awesome

wolfpack_ 9/5/2005 9:12:45 PM

good stuff

Lambgay_ 9/5/2005 9:14:31 PM


Andrew_ 9/5/2005 10:50:09 PM

Great band... he should also mention that these are all KIDS. I don't think a single member is over the age of 18 or 19.

sharkfight_ 9/6/2005 1:56:05 AM

i saw a live video of these guys, and it was damn sweet. i'll be checking out this album for sure.

xsocoolx_ 9/6/2005 4:03:30 AM

amazing drummer, amazing band, they're all i think at least 20 i believe but they've been doing this band for years

oil_ 9/6/2005 5:36:35 AM


h4unt3dfx_ 9/6/2005 12:43:41 PM

I was so shocked to find this album in the 'Used Metal' section so I instantly bought it. This is easily the best CD I've purchased for the mere price of $6. I was waiting for this CD to come out for a long time because I loved their PureVolume version of Holy Shackles. The drummer is simply amazing... and I believe they were all about 15 - 16 when they first released 'Shut It Down' but.... yeh, I dunno, they are a young band nonetheless Sean, excellent review man. Animosity \m/

ghetto_paul_ 9/6/2005 2:43:31 PM

just picked this up because I've heard some good things... this is excellent death metal. drummer is phenomenal, guitars remind me a bit of exhumed at times, but they're by no means a ripoff band. I like this a lot.

willxcore_ 9/6/2005 4:34:52 PM

saw this band live at cbgbs gallery bastufft and never heard a single thing about them prior. i was blown away.. really awesome stuff

dutchstep_ 9/6/2005 6:30:02 PM

"Hailing from San Francisco, where K Swiss and G Unit are more popular than Cannibal Corpse and Napalm Death," uhm .. . haven't you ever heard of the huge Bay Area metal scene? regardless, this band rules. Empires is better than Shut It Down, but barely!

FudgeYourYankeeBlueJeans_ 9/7/2005 9:11:36 AM

Shut It Down is way better than this. the vocals and music took a turn for the worse on this one. i miss that grind mentlity they used to have. now they're just trying too hard to write longer songs. and f*ck Taste of Blood. im tired of these shitty breakdown bands

nick larusso_ 9/7/2005 12:53:54 PM

british empire > roman empire

kbloomp08_ 9/8/2005 12:37:23 AM

Shut It Down will always going to be one of my favorite album. But I do not think that Empires is such a bad album. The Band did their best. And plus, I think Leo's vocal in Empires is really impressive same with the drummer and the rest of the band members. They really did a good job on this album. And to that comment up there... It's not that they're trying to make the songs longer or whatever... 5 minutes is not a big difference. They just making it a lot more better. and plus, if y

ZackOhren_ 9/9/2005 1:14:18 PM

Shut It Down was recorded in my parent's living room. True Story.

Jordan_ 9/9/2005 4:07:02 PM

I saw em last night and they were f*cking great. Make sure you see em live.

DICK FACE_ 9/28/2005 11:57:27 AM

This band is f*cking generic GET OVER THEM!

corey_ 10/14/2005 8:57:45 PM

i've seen these guy live as well as listened to their cd. My only issue with Animosity is that I feel the guitar riffs are a little to basic, generic, uninteresting. It's all power chords. The drums on the other hand are extreemly intuative. I like the vocals alot as well. Probly would give it a 7. a good 7.

Issac_ 4/16/2007 8:53:47 AM

their f*ckin sick