ANNIHILUS – GHANIMA (AMERICAN DECLINE, 2020)

In one of his last acts as Emperor of the known universe, Paul Muad’dib named his daughter Ghanima, ancient fremen for “spoil of war.” Born in torment and tragedy, she and her twin brother, Leto II, entered the world born to a dead mother, abandoned by their blinded father as he walked to his death in the great desert to meet his fate amongst the worms…

Annihilus is a one-man black metal project helmed by Chicago based musician, Luca Cimariusti. “Ghanima” is the first release on American Decline, a new sub-label of Jordan Reyes’ American Dreams imprint. The album is clearly within the vernacular of dark, angry, depressive black metal. Most tracks utilize a razor sharp riffing style. The vocals howl with a distorted, scalding fury. Other tracks, like “Destroy The Future” have a mid-tempo, funereal pace that would sound at home on any depressive-suicidal demo. “W.T.W.B.” deftly shifts into a more punk and hardcore aligned stomp. Beyond the explorations in riffing, there is the mysterious synthesizer passage “Doctor of Beasts” and the final track of the record is an industrial/noise jam where rippling distortion and electronic static form a base for unintelligible, tortured wailing. 

The different styles and influences displayed on “Ghanima” are united by competent songwriting and extremely tight musicianship. The album is an absolute onslaught, but the focus keeps everything from falling apart. There is a lot to enjoy here for fans of heavy music, even if black metal may not be their first choice. Like a storm of crysknives howling across the open desert, “Ghanima” unleashes her fury upon unsuspecting foes.

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