Hailing from the great city of Milan, Italy, comes the Alternative Metal act ANEWRAGE, shortened […]
By Julius "Dreadheart" Mikkelä
March 16, 2015
Anewrage - ANR album cover

Hailing from the great city of Milan, Italy, comes the Alternative Metal act ANEWRAGE, shortened ANR, with their debut and semi-self-titled effort "ANR": An album that will surprise you, intrigue you and either win you over or ever so slightly end up disappointing you.

But before we get in on the potential weaknesses of this album, let's talk about its definitive strength: Its sound. I haven't been this continuously surprised and caught off guard by the twists and turns in a band's sound since DIABLO SWING ORCHESTRA and KONTRUST. But "ANR" literally from beginning to end kept me on my edge with its countless changes, style mixes and influences - ranging from Rock to Post-Grunge to Hardcore to Progressive to Pop to Avant-Garde - all the while firmly rooted in an Alternative Metal sound that sounds like a mix of SYSTEM OF A DOWN, TOOLWINTERGARDEN,  FAITH NO MORE and SOUNDGARDEN.

This is realized through the truly impressive instrumental and vocal works carried out by the entire band: Axel Capurro's coarse and diverse voice and vocal style, which I feel is perfect for ANR's sound, and Manuel Sanfilippo's guitar works, which is impressively efficient on both a technical and a stylistic standpoint, make up the forefront of the band while Simone Martin's bass and Alessandro Ferrarese's drums lay down a complex yet somehow easily accessible foundation that could probably make many Progressive and Technical Metal acts take note – of nothing else then for the sheer diversity of their play styles. Through-and-through, these are talented musicians and they work really well together!

But while this sounds either amazing or insane on paper, the reality isn't as clear cut because the execution isn't as strong on a very important level: Songwriting. A lesson learned by all who have attempted to play Progressive, Experimental or Avant-Garde music is that you can play around and experiment all you want, but to be relevant you still have to write good songs - and on that point ANR is an above average but sadly not not consistent bag.

The album starts off extremely strong with a 3-in-a-row hit streak in the form of the frantic "Ape's Legacy", the melodic "Red Wet Lips" and the almost Punk Rock-inspired "The Backflip Irony"; all really strong and memorable songs that show off ANR's best sides. However past that the strength of the songs starts to fade quickly, as from the 4th track "Butterflies" to the final track "My Land", the only songs I found memorable were the Rocky and Groovy "Veins Swell and Heart Beats Faster" and the short and semi-acoustic "Frozen Light". The rest of the songs often had something, or several things, that were interesting and well-done but either fell to uninterest due to a too streamlined song structure and/or an underwhelming chorus that makes some of the songs a little toothless.

I still hold that all songs are worth listening to and that they're all on some varying degree of good, but with only 5 of the 12 tracks actually memorable I can't help but feel a little disappointed in the end. ANR clearly have all the pieces to make it big but their debut isn't a fully laid puzzle and as such falls short of the greatness it itself promised.

But don't let this discourage you: "ANR" is a solidly good album and enjoyable through-and-through if you like an energetic and slightly Avant-Garde-esque spin on your Alternative Metal with a handful of really good and memorable songs. It may very well be too crazy for some, and perhaps too streamlined for others, but regardless I recommend it for a listen and hope that the next time we see ANR they will show us just how great they can be.

7 / 10


"ANR" Track-listing:

1. Ape's Legacy
2. Red Wet Lips
3. The Backflip Irony
4. Butterflies
5. Nerveball
6. Eyes of Broken Man
7. Rotten
8. Veins Swell and Heart Beats Faster
9. No More
10. Still-Don't-Know
11. Frozen Light
12. My Land

Anewrage Lineup:

Axel Capurro - Vocals/Guitars
Manuel Sanfilippo - Guitars/Backing Vocals
Simone Martin - Bass.
Alessandro Ferrarese - Drums/Backing Vocals

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