It’s a bit difficult, for some people, to understand the emotions that are conjured up while listening to Italian horror composers like Fabio Frizzi, Claudio Simonetti, Goblin, Riz Ortolani, Roberto Donati and others. Even Ennio Morricone, who may not be known for horror, has some amazing genre scores that swing with the best of them. Not sure if it’s because, watching the films, those of us that ‘get it’, connect what oscillates in our eardrum cilia to what our optic nerves pick up…like a complex deep red wine that assaults your palate with boldness that blows your tastebuds away; yearning for more. Or perhaps it’s just how lushly the sounds these talented maestros commit to tape (and later digital) so expertly carves intricate feelings our of every note…A paradoxical question that really has no definitive answer, but yearns us ‘darkened few’ to explore nonetheless.
So you can imagine my skepticism when I heard that this group of guys from Sweden were turning out tunes that held their own against the composers I revere as gods. But I had to listen….I had to tune in.
These guys get it! That is all I need to say about Anima Morte…They get horror; and…that would mark the end of this article; but I’d feel like that would be cheaply short changing you, the reader, so I’ll press on.
I barely was introduced to them a year or so ago with their release of Inertia of the Risen; a short but sweet 7 inch collaboration with the legendary composer Fabio Frizzi. Being a Frizzi fan since I could remember, of course, peaks my immediate interest. So I picked it up…and I have played it so many times that if it were on cassette I would have a probably warped the tape…good thing it is not on cassette but on indestructible digital and vinyl; I can play the shit out of the digital file and preserve the vinyl for my kids to pass along to their kids and so forth.
Some facts about Anima Morte:
- Formed in 2004 in Sweden
- Currently consists of 4 talented, giallo-inspired musicians; Daniel Cennerfelt, Fredrik Klingwall, Stefan Granberg and Teddy Möller.
- Have released 3 studio albums; Face the Sea of Darkness, The Nightmare Becomes Reality and Upon Darkened Stains, along with other releases and collaborations including one with Death Metal act Antigama.
But for more specifics visit their Wikipedia page.
I picked their albums up and exposed my psyche to them in the order they were released. Their skill for key changes is evidenced by the morphing of a ‘hope-sounding’ Intro into a dark, minor key assault with He Who Dwells in Darkness (from Face the Sea of Darkness). The use of crossfading tracks is not new and sometimes can be gimmicky, but not here. Here is it teases you, the listener. You press play on an album titled “Face the Sea of Darkness” and before you can second guess whether or not you inserted the right disc (for those of you who still use CDs) the tone changes and is sustained throughout to the end. The little ray of sunshine that burst thru, almost immediately squashed forever.
If I have to chose a favorite song from their debut album I would only chose by the track I have listened to the most, which is Twilight of the Dead…such an amazing song; haunting, mischievous and ballsy with its well placed guitar riffs. You’ll find that a common theme with Anima Morte’s songs throughout their catalog; every note, every hit of the snare or toms…deliberate and belongs exactly where they’re placed.
To contrast ‘Intro’ from their debut album, The opening track on their follow up starts you off right in the 9th circle of hell and gives you a grand tour of its many quarters. A sonic assault on your soul. But much like Faust, you do give up your soul but you are rewarded with solos and melodies you clearly are not worthy of listening to.
If there is one thing I can deduce from now arriving at their 3rd studio album is that music is definitely seen as a journey to these guys. Again, another opening song and again a different tone set from the onset. Blessing of the Dead is equal parts somber, understanding and forgiving…all with an ‘old world’ timbre. A journey that crescendos with every twist and turn until its climax.
But I shouldn’t write on forever on them because you should really be listening to them. Maybe you can listen to them while reading this?
In closing, yes you will hear Goblin and Fabio Frizzi cadences in Anima Morte…After all, this is music made from the heart by talented musicians who grew up with not just hearing but experiencing the films of legends. A Dario Argento or Lucio Fulci film is an experience that no one should take lightly or not take something deep and brooding away from. A lot of it is visual but the scores play such a visceral role in controlling what you feel and when you feel it…the main reason why these composers are so appreciated and respected. That being said, Anima Morte is a beast all its own, make no bones about it. Think of it as someone not just carrying the torch passed on from their predecessors but in turn re igniting it for a new generation.
There is so much more in store for you here…so much power, depth, structure and chaos to be had. Don’t deprive yourself of this. Don’t be afraid, dive head first into the sea of the unknown and….above all else, prepare to be mystified and impressed with what you hear.