Anguish – Magna Est Vis Siugnah (2018) REVIEW

If you’d only ever skipped through this Uppsala, Sweden doom metal band’s debut in digital form then you were likely assed-out in learning of the great religion of Siugnah, a spiritual reality first proposed on ‘Through the Archdemon’s Head’. Though yet incomplete in it’s psalms of the moribund, their authored concept is spirited and fittingly dark alongside Anguish’s arch-demonicidal sound. These death metal loving doom metallers have always stood out as a little groggy, a bit rough, and on the verge of collapsing under the weight of their own mid-paced classic doom metal riffs. Their second album ‘Mountain’ defined the band’s sonic language with great clarity and the extra time spent on atmospheric recording techniques made for one of 2014’s most compelling traditional doom metal albums. The great tease of any Anguish record is their flirtation with their death metal influences that never do more than glance at the sub-genre, wink, and go about their business.  ‘Magna Est Vis Siugnah’ is altogether similar to ‘Mountain’ but loses a small amount of the brightness and tonal layers in favor of louder, buzzing guitar reverberation.

Though he experimented with some heavier grunts and growls on ‘Mountain’, vocalist J. Dee has begun to incorporate vocal elements that recall Tom G. Warrior (“Blessed Be the Beast”) and even 90’s Lee Dorrian (“Requisecat In Pace”) along the way. His vocal style is decidedly just roughened enough to stand out within traditional doom metal style a small step beyond the occasionally hoarse growls of Finnish doom bands like Cardinal’s Folly. His delivery the album is tips Anguish’s sound towards the scent of records like ‘Forest of Equilibrium’ but maybe moreso Penance‘s ‘The Road Less Travelled’.

For all of the power that ‘Magna Est Vis Siugnah’ begins with, it ends with one too many tracks that crawl along much like the final Cathedral album ‘The Last Spire’ where it all seems like a similarly paced drag without a grand ‘wake-up’ moment to revive the listener. After the huge nearly 12 minute dirge “Of the Once Ravenous” the rest of the spin feels oppressive enough to avoid after several listens. My issues with the pacing aren’t entirely warranted though, as it is a doom metal album, but I wanted a revival of the energy felt on the inspired first track. “Our Daughter’s Banner” briefly musters some energy but ends things on a damning dark ‘Lost Paradise’ note that works, but I tended to need a break afterwards rather than dive right back into the experience.

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Artist Anguish
Type Album
Released January 26, 2018
BUY/LISTEN on their Bandcamp! Follow Anguish on Facebook
Genres

All allegiance is malign. 3.5/5.0

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