Out via Hell’s Hammer music, the increasingly respected label that acts as a subsidiary to UKEM, “Правды Осколок, Кровоточит Живым..” (roughly translated as ‘Shard of truth, Bleed Live..’) is the second release from Ukranian black metal band Anthro Halaust. A Five-track EP, ‘Shard…’ represents the only evidence that can be found regarding this oblique band’s existence as they have chosen to operate in the underground, maintaining no online presence at all beyond their releases. Freed from the shackles of photo sessions, Facebook posts and twitter accounts, the band are able to concentrate on their dark, menacing music, creating an EP that quivers with barely repressed rage and misanthropic nihilism.
Opening with ‘Hatred!!’, the band launch straight into a feral attack that pairs tinny guitars with brutal blast beats and scraped-from-the-boot-heel-of-Satan vocals, only to reveal a more symphonic ambition in the arrangement that suggests that Anthro Halaust have their eye on the grandiosity of Emperor as well as the coldly philosophical Burzum. Short and brutal, ‘Hatred!!’ barely scrapes three minutes before ‘Code 667’ slithers into view, weaving an atmosphere with a sinister clean guitar line before plunging into a seething maelstrom of churning riffs that recall the early days of Behemoth and Dimmu Borgir. Once again the band’s arrangements are more complex than the blazing guitars initially reveal and that dark, symphonic presence remains even if it is more felt than heard. ‘Bleeds alive!!’ raises the stakes even higher with an epic opening that recalls the long-dead halls of warrior kings with its dark melody and wretched vocals seemingly torn from the very pit of damnation. ‘Cry of the soul’ is less ambitious than its forebear, adopting a straightforward trudge through a doom-laden blackened grind, although the keyboards help to soothe the passage of an otherwise unutterably brutal piece. However, even here the band remain unpredictable and the middle of the track drifts into a brief oasis of calm before the savage riff returns once more to grind the listener down. The EP grinds to its bitter conclusion with the epic assault of ‘the chasm’, a wormwood-infused monster of a track that draws together all of the band’s considerable strengths into one extended discourse on darkness. It marks the close of the EP, but far more importantly it opens a gateway to the band’s future, one that is soaked in the crimson glory of the underworld, and it seems that Anthro Halaust will offer dark wonders indeed when next they crawl out from the stygian pit in which they reside.
Ambitious and brutal, Anthro Halaust proudly keep the flame of black metal blazing with this icy blast. Despite only being five tracks, the EP provides ample ground for the band to explore the darkest depths of humanity’s despair and comes highly recommended.