Anima Hereticae goes on an adventure.
Founded in Finland in 2020 by Ville Rutanen (bass/vocals, Red Moon Architect, ex-Aeonian Sorrow), Taneli Jämsä (guitar/vocals, Aeonian Sorrow, Frosttide, Ghost Voyage, Red Moon Architect) and Teppo Ristola (drums, Lost in Grey, Where’s My Bible, ex-Damngod, ex-Morbid Vomit), the band released their first EP in 2021, then announced the release of their debut album, Descended From The Mountains, in 2023.
The album opens with Arcane, a minute-long introduction where majestic keyboards darken, leading us into Two Wolves and its visceral rage overcoming a ferocious frantic rhythm. The screams fade away to let the instrumental temporarily slow down, but fury soon resurfaces, blending screams and fast riffs again to create a heady contrast with orchestrations, which is followed by the ominous Kraken, a composition where the roaring bass comes to the fore in the mix. The track is more massive and oppressive than its predecessor, but it keeps the wild vocal parts and piercing leads before accelerating on the final to let the blast run wild until Cimmerian Darkness takes over, first very quietly and then suddenly exploding. The icy sound perfectly matches this track’s airy melancholic ambience, which nonetheless offers regular bursts of fury, as after the soaring break that carries us straight into the final, then to Kalman Väki and its misty dissonance. It remains in place when the band adds Old School elements to its catchy martial rhythm, as well as during the clean voice part that is followed by the appearance of backing vocals before the sound returns to its usual form, only slowing down to announce The Vault Of The Night, which also begins very slowly with a soothing melody, quickly overwhelmed by devastating riffs. The track is long, allowing the band to add a few more impressive tones to its lively charge, which naturally picks up again to let melodies and orchestrations come together, before letting Descended From The Mountains, the very long last track, close the album with a similar mix. We have an interesting alternation of vocals on this track, with cavernous vociferations answering more piercing ones, but both also fall silent to allow a female voice to add a touch of mystery to the surge, which continues unabated until the final moments.
Anima Hereticae blends Black, Death and Symphonic elements to create its own icy universe, and gives Descended From The Mountains its heady hypnotic touches, while also offering a few lighter passages. A great success.