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Rating:
5.5
Noumena - Anatomy Of Life
1 November 2006


01. Misanthropolis
02. Burden Of Solacement
03. Retrospection
04. The Burning
05. Monument Of Pain
06. Triumph And Loss
07. Marionettes
08. Through The Element
09. Fire And Water


Just one year after the release of their extremely successful sophomore album, Absence, Noumena attempted to surf the waves of popularity while they were still relevant in the metal community. Now there are two paths a band faces after releasing what is widely considered their strongest work to date: release another album in the same vein, or add changes to create a new sound despite the chance your fanbase might completely rebel against you for "selling out".

No spoilers here folks, this is a watered-down Absence, weaker in every respect. The clean vocals no longer fit the music, because the musicians have become stale, their sound coming across as uninspired or at least uninterested. The riffs are mind-numbingly boring, made more so by the tedious acoustic passages inserted randomly throughout the album (especially during "Burden Of Solacement")... In fact it is hard to say if this album was meant to be in the same vein as Absence as it in no way reflects the former album's greatness.

All comparisons aside, this is still a weak release. The listener is only capable of differentiating between tracks when a new riff is heard, as each song seems to dwell on playing the exact same passage for minutes on end as Antti Haapanen does his best Mikael Åkerfeldt impersonation, meanwhile bassist Hannu Savolainen is busy taking smoke breaks between songs only to appear for a brief moment ("Retrospection"). I can just picture the band, each member stricken with a worrisome look on their face at the conclusion that they might not have a bassist for their new album, when all of a sudden Sovalainen appears out of nowhere to finger a few strings before fading into the background without the band even noticing. During the mixing and mastering, the band members can hear random bass lines during the playback, and breathe a sigh of relief.

Now there is a single track that stands out below the rest, none other than "Monument Of Pain". This is easily the most creatively lacking song on the album, combining all the negative elements listed above with the addition of dreaded female vocals (which are even more obnoxious on "Through The Element"). I love female vocalists (a sucker for Norah Jones in particular), but the sound coming through my speakers at the time of this review is not a pleasant one. It drains the song completely, leaving no emotion; no aggression, no sorrow, not even bliss. Just a few seconds' worth of singing destroyed what would have been an otherwise mediocre song.

The scattered bits of energy hinted at in the beginning of the album are put to rest during the album's not-so-better half. What started with "Monument Of Pain" only gets worse, with the contemporary pop structures of "Triumph And Loss", the return of female vocals which seemed to have decrease in quality in less than ten minutes... There is almost no redeeming quality to this album. Suffice to say, Nourmena have released their "St. Anger" without even changing their sound!

Performance: 6
Songwriting: 6
Originality: 5
Production: 8


Band profile: Noumena
Album: Anatomy Of Life


 


written by Troy Killjoy | 13.02.2010


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.



Comments

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Wes - 13.02.2010 at 14:40  
I agree in every way with this review. However by judging from their newest EP or whatever (released on myspace) I'm not sure they are even capable of surpassing absense.

Absense is a classic in all metal, some of the vocal passages by the guy from "Fall of the leaf" featured on the album are so beautiful I cry to them every time I hear them.

Anyway it's nice to see people put up reviews of albums like this, I mean it helps us all. I just hope people realize that Absense is a great album and the band is too.
Troy Killjoy - 13.02.2010 at 14:46  
Thanks for the comment. I doubt they'll ever pass Absence, but I was at least hoping when listening to this that they would either change it up or at least produce something somewhat interesting. This is just bland from start to finish.

I don't know if I'd rate Absence as a classic in all of metal (it doesn't even compare to A Virgin And A Whore or Morningside), but it definitely holds its own in the modern melodic death metal era.

PS in the last line I spelled "Nourmena".
kurotenshi - 15.02.2010 at 03:59  
Ok I didn't know this band so I went to YT to listen to Absence and I really failed to find the amazingness described here...
That aside I agree, Anatomy Of Life fails to impress in every way...
Troy Killjoy - 15.02.2010 at 04:05  
Written by kurotenshi on 15.02.2010 at 03:59

Ok I didn't know this band so I went to YT to listen to Absence and I really failed to find the amazingness described here...
That aside I agree, Anatomy Of Life fails to impress in every way...


What made Absence such a success was how catchy it sounded. Listen to "The End Of The Century" or "Everlasting Ward" if you haven't heard them already. If you have, maybe their style just doesn't suit your taste.
Valaskjalf - 19.02.2010 at 08:12  
Good review, I used to have this album on my pc and just remembered why its not there anymore. I agree, Absence was an excellent album it had so many catchy and punchy songs on there it seemed as though the fun would never end when listening to it lol Pity they went downhill so fast, they looked a good prospect when they just popped onto the scene all those years ago.
kurotenshi - 27.02.2010 at 02:27  
Written by Troy Killjoy on 15.02.2010 at 04:05

Written by kurotenshi on 15.02.2010 at 03:59

Ok I didn't know this band so I went to YT to listen to Absence and I really failed to find the amazingness described here...
That aside I agree, Anatomy Of Life fails to impress in every way...


What made Absence such a success was how catchy it sounded. Listen to "The End Of The Century" or "Everlasting Ward" if you haven't heard them already. If you have, maybe their style just doesn't suit your taste.


'cause in the end this is only art and art is only a matter of taste

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