Artist: Anatomy of the Heads
Album: Jungle Cult Terror
Release Date: 22/03/2022
Country: Lore: Kirbati, Reality: Unknown
Anatomy of the Heads became known to me after they shared their music last week on a Bandcamp Friday post I made requesting new music to listen to and I am so glad that they did. I was lucky enough to hear a full advanced stream of the project’s upcoming album Jungle Cult Terror, set for release on March 22nd.
The project is a fictitious band claiming to hail from Kiribati and who have created a whole world of lore surrounding themselves and their music (learn more HERE). As with each of their previous concept driven albums, this release focuses on telling the story of the band embarking on a mystical, mind-altering adventure to dark and foreboding places. On this latest morbid outing, they offer us what is described as being a Sumatran pagan ritual. The Bandcamp description claims that the EP was recorded over three days after the band sought out local musicians playing dark ritualistic music in the jungle, music that appeared to play mysteriously over late-night radio stations in the area. You can read the full album premise on the Bandcamp page, and I highly suggest that you do as it really adds a depth and richness to the album.
With a basic understanding of what the band and the album are about, you’re ready to dive into the music itself. The EP is 6 tracks of genre defying, genuinely unsettling soundscapes. It brings to mind the music of Shibalba, relying heavily on dark ritual ambient and noise elements. These elements are then projected through a dark world music lens, featuring what comes across as haunting folk instrumental elements. All of this is then fed through an even finer lens of feedback and distortion, with black metal vocals layered over the top of it.
Inhuman howls and screeches, dark ritualistic spoken vocals and bestial shrieks can be found on numerous tracks on the EP. The band really know how to world build, as the elements presented on the album make the epic backstory come across as almost being believable. You begin to question if they had stumbled across some demonic ritual in the jungle in a remote region of Sumatra. More importantly though you want that movie to be made and for this EP to be the soundtrack to it, because personally that is something I would gladly go to the cinema to see (and hear).
Each track has its own unique flavour to it and presents its own sort of theme. Track 4 Battle with the Yan-gant-Y-Tan has a real tribalistic feel to it. Having actually been to Indonesia and heard this music played in temple rituals myself I can appreciate the chaotic nature of the instruments employed on this track. However, the band have gone so far beyond that and made them feel truly menacing, as if leading up to something evil approaching. The second half of this track delves deeper into this sense of dread with haunting ritualistic vocals layered over feedback, with these instruments emerging out of the void towards the end of the track. I chose this track in particular to examine for two reasons, one its one of my favourites on the album and two it’s the only single available for you all to listen to at this point in time. Just know that each track on the album feels very different to this one and as you may have noticed those black metal vocals, I discussed are nowhere to be found on this one. You’ll have to wait for the full album to be released to hear more!
From start to finish though the band never break character and never deviate from the album’s theme and essence. Overall, I was a huge fan of this release and now have a new band that I’ve become obsessed with. Keep in mind though that their previous releases are vastly different and each experiment with different genres and styles. If this album is not to your liking, then maybe their previous album A Banishment of Blooshed and Superstition’s progressive jazz fusion/rock/world/noise will be more to your liking. Personally, I enjoyed the darkness and chaos captured on this album though and appreciate their stylistic direction.
Listen to and order the album: