Distributor/label: Nuclear Blast Records
Buy Album: https://www.nuclearblast.de/en/products/tontraeger/cd/aenimus-dreamcatcher.html
Band Website: https://www.aenimusofficial.com/
Alex Green – Vocals
Sean Swafford – Guitar & Vocals
Seth Stone – Bass & Vocals
Cody Pulliam – Drums
Jordan Rush – Guitar
1. Before The Eons
3. The Ritual
4. My Becoming
5. The Dark Triad
6. Between Iron & Silver
7. The Overlook
9. Second Sight
10. Day Zero
It can be supposed that there is often disparity between songwriting craft and technical mastery of one’s instrument. Someone who knows the ins and outs of their instrument and can play it to a virtuoso level may not necessarily know how to wield such power. “With great power, comes great responsibility” and all that. It’s something that will often be found within the metal world, a genre with no lack of affinity for the excess. So it’s somewhat appropriate in saying that, as AENIMUS dabble in two forms of excess: horror stories, and technical wizardry. Both fiendish; both requiring a careful hand to avoid overdoing it.
Lyrically, the band’s emotive horror hits a certain sweet spot that makes for a pleasant tour-de-force listen. Using the classic likes of “The Shining”, “The Dead Zone”, “It” and the stories of Hannibal, it’s effective storytelling without the overly gory mess that often goes with it. Yet it’s on the music side of things where the balance is tipped towards the excess. Described as possessing an “arsenal of technical skills ready to unleash upon the world”, the band most definitely demonstrate their impressive prowess over their instruments throughout “Dreamcatcher”.
Right from the off, “Before The Eons” hits hard and hits fast, presenting riff after widdly-widdly-woo riff that would give a Red Bull-powered spider a hard time navigating the neck at such speed. It’s not all frenetic technicality (though it is, in all fairness, the meat of this particular meat-and-potatoes dish), with “Between Iron & Silver” weaving a deeply ambient and emotive passage to begin proceedings, whilst “Caretaker” harks to the days of the band’s inception with a deathcore-style beatdown. 2011 called; it wants its riffs back! Joking-aside, it’s the sort of stuff that more bands in the tech genre should utilise – a wider variety of riffs to avoid the music becoming stale.
The album does, on occasion, fall into a state of sterility, with the extensive technicality losing impact after a while, and therein lies one of the problems the genre has. The greater attention that’s given to technicality, the less coherent the songs tend to be. With most of the songs hovering at about four-to-five minutes, the brevity aids the digestion of the album, though there are still moments where riffs or passages flash past in a whirlwind of activity. If music can be compared with the art of painting, the whirlwind nature here would produce something akin to a Jackson Pollock.
“Dreamcatcher” is absolutely not for the faint of heart, as it’ll pulverise all who are unprepared. AENIMUS’ sophomore may have taken nearly six years to make, but if you’re unashamedly all for an album of tracks whose sole goal is to bludgeon, then strap in while they strap up. It can be a little tough to swallow, but give it a shot and you’ll be off to a tech world of dreams.