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Anacrusis - Screams and Whispers

1993 Metal Blade Records :: Reviewed by rofreason on 2005-06-30

I remember when this came out at the radio station (WYSO YS, Ohio) and I walked in to find one of the DJs sleeping in the music library to this album. Not realizing at the time the effect that this album would come to have on me, I dismissed it as a quirk, only now realizing what he was feeling. While most reviews are somewhat factual, I'd say that more than 50% of these are based on raw emotional opinion. If that's the case, then most recordings will provide a different reaction based on the individual, environment, etc. Well, I don't know what the exact combination of all these influences was when I first heard this, because it just knocked me to the floor. Safe to say that this is one of my favorite albums, period, I personally own 6 copies of this tape, not counting the ones I bought for every person I thought would appreciate this album. Worlds apart from the first two releases, Screams retains the precision of Manic Impressions, but is a much warmer album, based (to my layman's ears) more in the midrange. Another shift in the drummer's chair doesn't affect the overall sound as much as it could have, given that Miles' style is fairly similar to Smith's, both drummers providing an interesting, yet appropriate, performance. While there are experimental pieces which fall a tad short of the high Anacrusis standard (the middle songs on both sides) the strength of those that work completely proves the necessity of this album. Again produced by Nardi, Emery's bass stands out again, due of course to equal parts performance and recording. As stated, drumming is exact, yet something is amiss with standard time here, Miles' accenting offbeats that make this work so perfectly. The angel/devil dichotomy vocals are in full form here, with Nardi giving chills on both clean and shriek vocal deliveries. Some use of keys (synth "hits") may be a bit much, but every time I hear Sound the Alarm, or Release, I'm only saddened by the fact that this master group dissolved, leaving no trace. Why these albums are discontinued while other crap can inundate the market makes me physically ill. Regardless, a hard to find album which is worth every penny. One can only look at bands such as Voivod to try and extrapolate as to what the future would have held for these guys.