Soundscapes of the Abyss with Anatomia's "Cranial Obsession"

Before my first listen to Anatomia’s latest full length offering Cranial Obsession, I thought I knew exactly what to expect from it. I was fully anticipating the Sludgy mid-tempo Death Metal that we’ve all come to love, so I did what I always do: I popped it in, set the volume up, and went about preparing dinner. After the intro phrase of the opening song “Necrotic Incision” was par for the course I had predicted, and so I carried on. But I was naive. I didn’t understand, I couldn’t possibly fathom, what was to come.

Soon a quick organ bridge sounded through my speakers, gone as soon as it was noticed. It was fast and well timed. But goddamnit, it was there and it was creepy. Like something was trying to break through from the other side, but contained within the phrases. Before long I was encapsulated by darkness, shadowy tendrils reaching out to wrap around every hope and dream and wringing them to death. Dissonant harmonies and melodies sounded under the surface of driving filthy riffs. The vocals growled pure inhumane despair as the darkness enclosed.

Cranial Obsession is not an upbeat listen. It’s not an album you would pop on to start your day. It’s a late night listen filled with dread atmosphere. It’s a horrific soundtrack to the last days on Earth interspersed with the filthy Death Metal Anatomia is known for. Sometimes when a band gets experimental it can have a jilting effect, but Cranial Obsession is expertly crafted with every note, harmony, and melody in its proper place.

Though I can’t pinpoint my favorite track, “Vanishment” and “Abysmal Decay” are up there. I first heard the former song earlier this year at The Tower. Takashi (Drums, Vocals) told me they were going to play a new song. “It’s a long one,” he said. And he wasn't kidding. It was an incredible 15-minute journey, leading our resident Viking Wizard Christian to proclaim that they were one of the best bands in Japan. Of course other songs are more traditional Anatomia, such as “Fiend” and “Morbid Hallucination”. Most, however, venture deep into the dank pits of Hell itself. It’s difficult to describe that headspace with mere words.

Overall, Anatomia’s Cranial Obsession isn’t an easy listen. But it’s a masterful journey into the depths of hell. Successfully combining Anatomia’s filthy mid-tempo Death Metal with more Doomy and Ambient elements, this full length might not see daily rotation in a playlist, but for those who are more inclined to exploring the darker side, it isn’t to be missed. Personally, I am looking forward to exploring the depths of this cavernous yet tightly written release again and and again.

You can pick up Cranial Obsession on Bandcamp and physical copies at Nuclear War Now Records.