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Review: Anasarca – Survival Mode

Anasarca is back! After a decade long hiatus, death metal legends Anasarca have returned with Survival Mode. Survival Mode is a 5-track demo that shows Anasarca have not lost their touch. Before their hiatus, they released Godmachine (1998), Moribund (2001), and Dying (2004). You can find Anasarca on Facebook for updates and order information!

Alright so let’s get into this sick demo without wasting more time. The first track is just an intro composed of screaming and water dripping, so don’t think much of it. “Survival Mode” is the first song (2nd track) and it amazing. That beginning riff snags you quick and is really sweet. Gutturals neck deep in sewage come in alongside a pummeling drummer, rumbling bass, and relentless riffing. That actually sums up this whole demo, but that’s also how “Survival Mode” is too. It is about 5 minutes long and has a really cool intro and chorus that really give the most life in the song. The bridge is appropriately less intense, but it does increase in intensity as it gets closer to the chorus. The bridge is what cuts this track in two parts, so it makes the song easy to follow and lets you know when that killer chorus is coming.

“571” has the same headbanging intensity that “Survival Mode” has, but in a different fashion. “571” has melodic, chugging riffs, and a fast drum groove that isn’t dominated by double-bass. When double-bass is used it’s very tasteful and pushes the heavy sound further. There are parts where everything is played quicker (well it’s actually more frequent notes in the same amount of time but I’ll just say quicker). Think of certain Nile songs where Karl Sanders growls match the drumming, that’s what happens in “571” at points and it’s amazing.

“Donner Party” and “Blue John” are similar by the fact that they are more melodic death metal songs than the first two tracks. Of course, they are still heavy songs that offer a lot to listen to, they just have more melodic elements. “Donner Party” will have both guitarists playing tremolo-picked riffs in different octaves at times (if not playing together). The bridge and a few verses involve a multitude of things going on that differ from “Survival Mode” and “571.” A bunch of different cymbals get hit, 2 different riffs are played at once, and it all builds up and ends in a synchronized fashion. It’s quite a nice way to end a song.

“Blue John” starts with notes ringing out over chugging and fast drumming then gets heavy when a faster guitar riff is played. That’s when you know the song has really started. I really like the ride cymbal Dirk uses; it has a loud bell that cuts through the mix well, but it isn’t too shrill or anything. It compliments the rest of the band well. Heavy use of the ride’s bell is in “Blue John” and I think that’s a good choice. The guttural vocals are present in every song, but a higher registry is used in this song. Don’t worry it’s still a growl, it just isn’t as deep in the gutter.

To wrap this up, Survival Mode is a great demo. It’s short, sweet and leaves a good taste in your mouth. If you don’t like the title track or at least “Donner Party” I don’t know what to tell you. The whole demo is great, but those two songs specifically stuck out the most to me. Survival Mode is heavy, well produced and mixed, and is a great way for Anasarca to return to the metal scene. I highly recommend you check this out, not only because it’s quality death metal, but because it isn’t long and won’t take much time out of your day to check it out. The only thing that would make this better is if the bass was a little bit louder, not too much because I did hear it sometimes.

Rate: 9.4/10

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