Annisokay – ‘Abyss Pt I’

By Fiachra Johnston

The heavy music scene in Germany is something to behold: there’s a reason they get all the best dates on a European tour. With more artists breaking out into the international stage comes more eyes focused on the scene, and there’s never been a better time for bands both old and new to put their best foot forward. Locked in with their new rough vocalist, four-piece mainstays of metalcore Annisokay have returned with ‘Abyss Pt I’, highlighting just what got them their place in the industry.

The opening ‘Into the Abyss’ and its follow-up ‘Human’ set the pace pretty well for the whole EP, some Michael Bay disaster movie levels of electronica underscoring the deep heaviness of the guitars and vocals in its breakdown. Instrumentally Annisokay never lose a step, drummer Nico Vaeen especially holding his own with some brutish, consistent drumming that adds a hefty weight to each track at just the right moments. ‘Ultraviolet’ ramps up the electronica further, with vocalists Christoph Wieczorek and Rudi Schwarzer working in tandem on its verses.

While it’s only a six track EP (if you include the mostly instrumental opening), Schwarzer and Wieczorek flow well into each other, working as well as any other metalcore rough/clean duo. Wieczorek, despite his status as a relative newcomer to the group (taking over rough vocals for 2021’s ‘Aurora’) pulls a lot of these tracks together. The deep growls and screams feed off the guitar and shuddering bass, each in competition with each other at times to see who can get more feral in their performance. Everyone feeds off each other’s energy throughout, and it makes for some fun tracks that emphasise the collaboration between the four of them.

It’s that energy that keeps this EP above water, as although it is a well put together record, it’s nothing anyone won’t see coming. ‘Throne of Sunset’, with its ambient electronic buzz throughout complementing the otherwise staccato guitars and drums, ticks all the boxes for the genre but it doesn’t do a whole lot more than that. There’s a little bit more creativity through ‘Calamity’, a heavy take on pop star Leony’s ‘Remedy’. Annisokay fuses her Weeknd-like synthpop into a more hard rock chorus, but its presentation feels too mismatched to fully work, feeling like a Eurovision entry rather than a fully-fleshed out piece.

The EP’s closer ‘Time’ returns to a more cohesive metalcore sound, its alien electronica giving a sinister undertone for an explosively fun finale, and the best track of the EP. Annisokay are at their best when they lean all in on the cheesy, over-the-top dramaticism that metalcore offers, and there’s fortunately enough of that throughout to help ‘Abyss Part I’ stand on its own, rather than feel like an offshoot of ‘Aurora’.

While it’s disappointing to see Annisokay play things by the book, ‘Abyss Pt I’ will delight any fans who are happily content with more of their usual sound. It’s hard to blame them for sticking to their guns, especially as it results in Schwarzer being solidified as a staple member of the quartet through some of the best screams of their discography. If you’re looking for six good old fashioned metalcore tracks to scratch that specific itch, the melodic choruses and powerhouse guitars will hit all the right notes for you.

FIACHRA JOHNSTON

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