Austrian Modern Death Metallers Dystersol are back with their third studio full-length, Anaemic, and I find myself decidedly impressed with this album, which is quite a statement from me. Modern Death Metal isn’t my favourite Metal genre, so it’s a challenge for a band from that genre to impress me and whilst their previous offering, The Fifth Age Of Man, was an okay listen, Anaemic stands head and shoulders above that album. It’s far tighter and more powerful than that predecessor.
Dystersol – Anaemic (Black Sunset / MDD)
Release Date: 6 April 2023
Words: Jools Green
There have been a couple of line-up changes since their last album, with Matthias Rinner taking over drum duties and Andreas Kienleitner taking over one of the guitar roles. The fresh blood certainly has injected a lot of positive qualities into the sound. Lukas Hatzmann has definitely upped his game in the vocal department too, and nothing makes me happier than hearing a band excel in their art. Dystersol have done just that with this album.
Anaemic is a concept album and has an intriguing backstory. It tells of the rise and fall of a fictional serial killer, with the narrative focusing mainly on how a person, negatively influenced and too often disappointed by his environment and society, becomes a psychopath.
A building haunting piano intro and Things To Come sets the scene. The piano work is reflected in the next track, Fail Better, where the repeating melody is balanced with the acidic vocal growls. With slick direction changes and a great swathe of soaring second-half lead work, after which it develops a bit of a chug, you can’t fail to be engaged by this catchy number.
In Dreams is a punchy, crunchy number with a sinister edge but also a groove which makes a great combination. I love the darker feel that builds within this track as it progresses, and the second half lead work is haunting and reflective.
Battering Ram opens on some seriously sexy riffing, with the pace picking up to an engaging drive and those riffs popping back up time and time again with thrashy soaring lead work bursting forth midway through and a crunchy technical close.
Mountain Of Faith is another chugger, but with complex riffs that pop up regularly. The great drum work and the vocals that range from hisses, roars and growls take it to the next level.
Shapeshifter is complex from the offset, up-tempo initially with slick sharp direction switching and pace changes, building on that initial complexity completed with a generous amount of soaring but haunting lead work.
It’s straight in with the vocals and hammering drum work on Nailed To The Stars. It’s complex and subtly technical but still manages to squeeze in a bit of melody, too. A catchy and engaging piece followed swiftly by the groovy but technical punch packer Rainmaker, where the short, sudden burst of midpoint lead work grabs your attention.
Soothsayer is a chunky chugger that is again complex, slightly discordant and impactful, briefly dropping away reflectively and with the bass lines developing bounce before a final reflective tail-off, but don’t let your guard down at this point because Dollmaker opens like a blast to the face. It is ruggedly chunky but also harbours a groovy and slightly technical edge with drum work hammering through, making a big statement too.
The penultimate piece Niedergang (decline/fall), opens on some superbly haunting lead work before turning into a complex chugger. In fact, there’s an abundance of lead work bursts popping up across the track. It might be my favourite on that basis. Final piece, the outro, Into The Void, is another haunting piano instrumental, bringing the album around to where it began.
Overall, I think Anaemic is a great listen. It has a very full and engaging sound. If more Modern Metal that passed my way was of this ilk, I’d be listening to far more of it.