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The Daily Grind

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Album Review

Contrary to what its title may suggest, Anima's sophomore album (and first for Metal Blade), The Daily Grind, is neither referencing some underlying grindcore influences (um, because there are none), nor the grind of boredom, because there's really far too much action in store here for tedium to ever take hold. Having said that, the precocious teenage boys piloting Anima's fully armed Panzer tank do seem to be quite hopelessly enamored with the increasingly pervasive deathcore template of the late-'00s, where hardcore's formative directness and simplicity are draped with positively devastating death metal croaks, crust-riffs, blastbeats, and — oh yes — breakdowns. Breakdowns, breakdowns, breakdowns: they're stacked so thick throughout the album's initial barrage of tracks ("Behind the Mask," "There Is Something Vicious," and, uh, "Sitting in the Wardrobe") that it soon becomes impossible to tell where one breakdown ends and the next one begins. But Anima manages to rise above this problem every so often, whipping up some mildly Gothenburg-esque guitar runs here (see the title track and "Isolated"), and memorably inserting an extended guitar solo there ("A Wrong Person to Trust In"). All the while, vocalist Robert Horn yo-yos nonstop between gut-churning Cookie Monster growls and hair-singing black metal shrieks; his refusal to ever sing clean drawing a symbolic line in the sand incontrovertibly divorcing Anima from the fast-fading melodic metalcore trends of yesteryear, while swearing the group's allegiance to the new deathcore world order — however long that fashion lasts. Ultimately, this form of creative tunnel vision means that the bulk of these tracks succeed primarily because of the band's instrumental competence and enthusiastic attack, rather than their ability to break new stylistic ground. Therefore, adventurous metal fans looking to have their minds blown should obviously look elsewhere, but deathcore fans happy enough to get their asses kicked will absolutely love The Daily Grind.

The Daily Grind, Anima
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