Engimatic Smile


There came a weird time in metal when the icons and gods of the scene […]
By Tom Colyer
April 22, 2015
Annisokay - Enigmatic Smile album cover

There came a weird time in metal when the icons and gods of the scene stopped being beer swilling, drug taking, violent mother fuckers and began to become something completely different.  I'm not sure why or how this happened but it did.  You don't hear tales of vocalists overdosing on heroin and then playing the best set of their lives anymore.  Now we have bands who's riders include Berocca and various colors of vitamin water.  In fact I think the most hardcore thing I've heard of from a tour recently was everyone having a jolly good game of cards against humanity and having a chuckle at some fairly off color jokes.

What the fuck happened?

The times seem to have changed along with the styles and personalities of the music and no more is this so apparent as in the softer realms of metal.  Where we used to have gateway bands like SYSTEM OF A DOWN or KORN, we now have this strange emo-tech hybrid that has become the entry point for so many people.  These are bands that have all the right levels of ability to write some seriously bad ass music but instead seem to end up writing incredibly middle-of-the-road songs that just seem to play by the numbers.

It is in this category that ANNISOKAY fall into place.  The release of their second album "Enigmatic Smile" has seen their name spreading and they are gaining quite a bit of notoriety in the European Metal world.  They tout some impressive guitar riffs couple with utterly masterful production qualities.  Following in the vein of bands like PERIPHERY they manage to craft a highly polished, professional sound throughout the album.  This over produced sound is just about all that stands out about them though and that's not saying much.  Outside of the individual talent shown by each of the musicians, the song writing is lack-luster at best.  Each song follows a fairly predictable formula and there are little to no sections that showcase a personality that is unique or interesting.

The biggest issues I have with album though are the vocals and lyrics.  This is really where the change in popular metal has been so very noticeable and for ANNISOKAY, it's their biggest flaw.  They utilize dual vocalists, an approach that can sometimes work quite well.  This is not one of those times though.  To be fair to him, the screamer is OK.  He has a dynamic range and doesn't just stick to one tone all the way through.  The singing however is exactly what I think of when someone says "stereotypical clean screamo vocals".  This is where bands like PERIPHERY have failed to gain my interest in recent years.  You can play all the sexy guitar you want but if your vocalist just whines over everything then it's ruined.  There are precisely zero balls involved in the singing and the lyrics could just as well have been scraped from the B-side of a HAWTHORNE HEIGHTS album.

I feel bad being so vitriolic but I also can't lie.  As far as the genre of emo-tech goes, these guys seem to be the best of a bad bunch.  If you feel like getting all reminiscent over an ex-girlfriend but don't want to smash anything then this could well be the album for you.

5 / 10


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"Engimatic Smile" Track-listing:

1. Traveler
2. Carry Me Away
3. Panic Attack
4. What Is Left
5. New Autumn Light
6. Fragile Line
7. Fame
8. Snowblind
9. Life Cycles
10. Naked City
11. Wolves In The Walls

Annisokay Lineup:

Dave Grunewald - Shouts
Christoph Wieczorek - Clean Vocals & Guitars
Norbert Rose - Bass
Daniel Herrmann - Drums
Philipp Kretzschmar - Guitar

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