Sometimes when you listen to an album for the first time, you just can't get it out of your CD-player because you're addicted to the music. Well, this doesn't happen that often to me and certainly not with two albums of the same band at the same time! Yet it happened while listening to the Australian prog rock band Anubis. Their record company has sent me both the debut 230503 and the brand new album A Tower Of Silence simultaneously and I loved them both right from the start. Anubis proved that 'down under' superb progressive rock music is recorded. Recently the band went on tour with Unitopia, another outstanding prog band from this continent. Hopefully Anubis will come to Europe someday, just like Unitopia did in 2010.
Anubis were formed in 2004. The key members are songwriters Robert James Moulding (vocals, percussion, bass) and David Eaton (keyboards, vocals, guitars) assisted by Douglas Skene (guitars, vocals), Nick Antoinette (bass, vocals), Steven Eaton (drums, vocals) and Dean Bennison (guitars, lap steel, clarinet, vocals). With this line-up they released their first album 230503 in 2009. The Birds Robe Records label reissued the album later on and launched their second album A Tower Of Silence in September 2011.
Background Magazine never reviewed the debut album, so reviewing it now is certainly in place because this album needs to be heard by people who fancy prog rock. 230503 is a concept album inspired by the death of some of the band's members. The story starts and ends with the sound of a telephone ringing. What you hear in between is just superb. I won't tell you what happens music wise on these fourteen tracks, but the content is a blend of all kind of elements taken from heavy rock, neo-progressive rock, progressive metal, psychedelic rock and alternative rock together forming the melting pot of Anubis' music. This results in powerful, dynamic and atmospheric tracks. Sometimes you hear strong influences of bands as Pink Floyd, Genesis, King Crimson, Marillion and IQ. There are many great guitar solos throughout the album, so it's not easy to avoid goose bumps! Beside the solos you can enjoy the fantastic sound of a Mellotron on several tracks which provides the music with many bombastic moments. The singing is sometimes very emotional and grabs you by the throat. The mixture of modern and old progressive rock is very tastefully done and can be heard on all tracks. The album doesn't contain any weak tracks at all; they're all of a very high quality level.
The latter qualification also applies to A Tower Of Silence, the band's second album. Music wise it's of the same calibre as 230503, the same influences are audible and once again the band uses a concept to express their feelings. It tells the story of the strong spirit of an eleven year old girl lost between the walls of a Victorian hospital for paupers where she lived and died. Again the soundtrack to this story is superb. Many times you'll be under the impression that you are in higher places due to the high level of the compositions and once again it's not easy to avoid goose bumps caused by the wonderful guitar solos and the many emotional moments. And again it's an outstanding record that doesn't contain any weak tracks at all.
Since both albums are very strong it's difficult to say which one I like the best. I haven't got a favourite; I'm just addicted to both albums. Other releases had to wait to get their chance in my CD-player. For me both albums are true masterpieces. Therefore they deserve the highest possible rating of five stars; highly recommended to people who fancy the music of Pink Floyd or Genesis. Anubis are undoubtedly the sensation of 2012! Please check out both albums!
***** / ***** Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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