Album Review: Anatomy of Habit — “Black Openings”

When I moved to Orlando about seven years ago, one of the things that surprised me was the food options. The variety of transplants who call this place home gave rise to a vibrant food culture. There are all kinds of Vietnamese, Latin American, and of course, southern cooking to be found here. A lot of celebrity chefs have restaurants here. You will not eat poorly if you come here. It also pays to be a restaurant with a gimmick. There have been at least three anime and video game themed restaurants since I moved here. Maybe the strangest restaurant I’ve ever seen here was the Chinese/Latin American Buffett housed in what must be the remains of a chrome trimmed 50s diner. Two types of cuisine that probably should not be together. On the surface, hearing that Anatomy of Habit bill themselves as “post-punk doom” conjures a similar reaction to the idea of a Chinese/Latin American buffet. How on earth do these two genres work together on Black Openings? Post punk thrives on anxious energy. Doom metal meanwhile lumbers. These should be opposing energies.

However, Anatomy of Habit understand the similarities in both genres. They realized here are two genres that thrive on gloomy atmosphere, white noise, and tight rhythm sections. They also are excellent at expressing existential dread. Here, Anatomy of Habit use that knowledge to a create a thrilling album of moody atmospherics.

Sam Wagster’s dirge like bass notes open the album before Skyler Rowe’s shimmering cymbals join in and then break out into Stephen Morris like drumming. Meanwhile while Alex Latus’ guitar simmers around those beats, Mark Solotroff bellows in his best Ian Curtis impression “SLEEP DOES NOTHING”. In a post punk band, hearing an Ian Curtis impersonation could be a groan inducing affectation but hearing that hollow, drone of a delivery in a doom band? It’s downright harrowing. Anatomy of Habit know how to create atmosphere.

And Anatomy of Habit put atmosphere at the center of the three songs that comprise Black Openings. Alex Latus’ guitar moves from Cocteau Twins’ noise swirl to doom riffs seamlessly. Vibraphones and metal percussion haunt the background of each track. This is not atmosphere unmoored from anything though. While Latus’ guitar may drone and Solotroff’s voice howls lyrics of alienation, it’s Rowe’s drumming and Wagster’s bass that keep us from getting lost. They’re the flashlight in this haunted house of pain.

The merging of post punk and doom metal on Anatomy of Habit’s Black Openings is a perfect swirl of gloomy and dreadful noise. This is unquestionably not the sonic equivalent of a Chinese/Latin American buffet. Anatomy of Habit are a band taking creative chancesconfidently staking a claim in unique territory

Dan M

Black Openings is available now on the band’s Bandcamp page. For more information on Anatomy of Habit, visit their official website.

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