“Carnal Obsession”

By Dr. Abner Mality

Anatomia has long been a cult name to toss around in the death metal underground. A long running Japanese unit, they were one of the first bands to be notably influenced by the gruesome death-doom of early Incantation, long before that became a trend. “Carnal Obsession” continues to deliver grueling funeral paced death metal that sounds like it just woke from a rotting tomb, but they add more atmosphere and ambience to the mix than they have before.

“Necrotic Incision” starts things with a pus-filled bang and you know that Anatomia haven’t backed away from their roots one bit. The song combines crushing faster riffs with suffocating slower bits much in the manner of prime Incantation, right down to the mumbling demon growls that are right out of the Craig Pilliard school of horror metal. Fellow Japanese death samurai Coffins are also a comparable band. “Fiend” cuts loose with an immense rocking groove that had me headbanging right away, but the song ends strangely with creepy synth work. “Vanishment” is pure death doom with no mercy, a ominous plodding assault over 11 minutes in length.

The album’s weakness is the predilection for diverging into creepy Halloween soundscapes. The beginning of “Excarnated” drags on forever. OK, it sounds like the soundtrack to a horror movie but it goes on too long and when the crushing metal kicks in, the song has already jumped the shark. There are more oddball keyboard interludes in “Uncanny Descension” and “Abysmal Decay”. This latter song is agonizingly slow and basic doom…almost more like deathly tones as opposed to riffs. The album ends with another overlong soundtrack style cut “Recurrence”, which is indeed creep-inducing with vomiting vocals and eerie ambience but which lacks the visceral metal climax we all crave.

“Carnal Obsession” is another all-engulfing experience in sepulchral metal from Anatomia. There’s quite a bit of fat that needs to be trimmed, but even so, this is recommended to all lovers of cavernous Incantation/Autopsy/Coffins style death metal.