CD Review – Anubis: Waking The Dead

I have recently been privileged enough to get a preview copy of the next album release from Anubis called Waking The Dead.

It has been on release since Wednesday 10th March 2010 so beware, the dead shall be crossing the Nile in their hoards once this gets onto our sound systems, and it should. Waking The Dead has hardly left mine since receiving this exquisite piece of Anubian rock. You may have read my review of the last Anubis album release, Sibuna. If you have not you should do, this new release not only matches the quality of Sibuna but also moves every aspect of the Anubian sound up to greater unprecedented levels.

These levels are not just in relation to Anubis but to the huge worldwide rock scene both independent and commercial. It has to be heard to be believed. I received it one hundred miles from home and played it twice on return. Once home I had to play it again.

The album opens with ‘Locked In’, music and lyrics by Sarah Coburn (Isis). This song that relates to love and feelings draws you in with Anubian majestic magic and charm, the vocals by Isis are outstanding, punctuating the music and adding to its edge, or is this the other way around. It is a perfect song and such a good opening chapter.

‘Til It Hurts’ follows. Music and lyrics by Simon Lees (Pharaoh). It adds more weight to the ‘picture’ as it tells a tale of phobia and fear. We flow into ‘My God’, this crashes in amidst grinding chords and pounding drums which get accentuated with the vocals from Isis as the guitar sound deepens very effectively in tale of religious understanding and self-belief. It snares and draws you into the music even further. The ‘Dead’ in the album title are stirring from this point onwards. ‘Without Anaesthetic’ gently opens with light keyboard from Isis and vocals from Simon (Pharaoh) and has heavy grinding guitar being used to great effect. The opening keyboard harmony comes in from time to time pacing to great effect.

‘Abandoned’ is the song about abandoned children in Bulgaria that was on the EP Wish released by Isis just before Christmas 2009. Being on an Anubis album it not acoustic and has the full Anubian guitar sound with bass and drums behind it. The ‘feeling’ from the initial acoustic version is not lost, only highlighted and strengthened by the Anubis ensemble. I honestly cannot choose a preference between the two versions. ‘Are We There Yet’ has a deceptive keyboard intro borrowed from ‘In the Hall of The Mountain King’ by Grieg in ‘Peer Gynt’. Perfect as this song is about a young boy’s fears and phobia’s of adventure theme parks and the feelings within this lad as he travels to one. As you may imagine, this is a very powerful tune with vocals from the Pharaoh with backing by Isis to harmonise the heavy grinding riffs. Luscious licks aplenty and admirable backing from Pete (jackal) on bass and Kevin (Osiris) on Drums. Wholesome and flamboyant, this is a particular favourite of mine.

‘Hold Me Now’ music and lyrics written by Pharaoh is a great love ballad that utilizes the harmonic qualities of Anubis to the full and takes them to the edge. It is a true classic in its portrayal of love and affection emphasizing the feelings invoked when you just need to be close to someone you love. ‘Chenevare’ is an instrumental written by Pharaoh. The title is how an old English Staffordshire village called Kinver had its name pronounced about 1000 years ago. It has an intro inspired by music from the middle ages leading to a flamboyant guitar led tune. The synth in the background to this adds such an encompassing ambience which then gets blown out of the water when Osiris, Jackal and Pharaoh join forces simultaneously and blast out the songs true Rocking rhythms. A true masterpiece of instrumental heavy rock.

‘Above Water’ is another song written by Isis and taken from the Avatar EP. It is rerecorded true to original form and maybe the new version loses just a little of the urgency in Isis’s vocals but adversely it gains a little warmth in this newly produced version. Its chicken and egg time again! ‘In Your Mind’ is a colourfully creative rock song about personal paranoia. It is very rich and deep musically delving right into the darkness of human psyches. Lyrics are from Pharaoh and it was written by Andy Hart who is no longer in the Anubis line up.

‘Colourful’ written by Isis is a melancholic rock wonder. The song emphatically explores and describes the inner emotions involved if you are caught in relationship which works without fully synergising. It rocks harmonically and darkly with great effect portraying inner anxiety, this is highlighted by the occasional backing punctuation from Pharaoh in the chorus, adding perfect inflection to the songs subject material. Yes it is dark and deep and performed with such colour, a perfect reflection of the songs topic. Musically marvelous.

‘Dawn Will Never Come’ follows on, gradually building into another ultimately powerful song revolving around the pressures of life in modern society. Yet again the grinding riffs and rolling rhythms tantalise very effectively and to great, very pleasurable effect. Music by Osiris and lyrics come from Pharaoh. ‘The End Game’ closes perfectly, another instrumental number from Pharaoh dedicated to the memory of his mother. It is a benchmark example of instrumental classic rock as well as being the perfect prologue to this album.

Here is a link so that you can see the prowess of this mighty band and get a taste for their abilities

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XyLBQPa-HKk

http://www.myspace.com/anubisband