Some of you may still remember this unique band from Austria, with its really unusual and bizarre albums. Formed back in 1994, they were signed by Napalm Records, who released their first four works; a split with Amestigon and 3 full-length albums. They were playing a very distinctive mix of avant-garde metal, classical music, operatic female vocals and extreme screaming male ones. Their 3 first works were simply brilliant. Especially the debut album “Die Kemenaten Scharlachroter Lichter”, with its unique melodies, still remains as one of my all time favorites! The departure of Szinonem from the band in 1997 affected its sound (or it happened at the same time with the band’s change) and since then Angizia removed gradually all metal elements from their music. “Das Schachbrett des Trommelbuben Zacharias” in 1999 was their last release with Napalm and their characteristic extreme vocals were already gone, bringing a more theatrical approach to their sound. After that, they released 2 albums in 2001 and 2004 on their own label Medium Theater, experimenting even more on their theatrical side. Since 2004 the band was practically inactive and its founder Michael Haas put it on ice for a while, with no certain plans for the future…
I was very pleased to find out that seven years after their last work, Angizia are back to life! Their sixth full length album “Kokon – Ein Schaurig-schönes Schachtelstück” is just released, once again by the band’s own label. I was very curious to see how this long period of time would affect their sound. This new work is actually a continuation of their previous album “Ein Toter Fährt Gern Ringelspiel”, without any impressive music redirections, but with some significant changes. They still belong in the same “genre” and the big difference I see is in the overall atmosphere of their music. Unlike their previous works that had a happier mood (something like puppet theater) this one sounds much darker. The music is once again piano based, accompanied by many more classical instruments, with violins, viola and cello being the most dominant. Of course trying to describe Angizia’s music with words, is almost pointless, since they remind only of themselves… Anyway, most melodic lines have been composed by Emmerich Haimer with the help of Michael Haas. There are many musicians in this album and most of them have also participated in previous Angizia works. Except a few parts with electric guitars, everything else is simply acoustic. The only instrument that in my opinion still has a metal touch is the drums.
There are 16 songs in this album, but many of them are more like intros or interludes, so it lasts about 57 minutes. Some parts are more theatrical with narrations, while the most “complete” songs are only seven. There are mainly two types of vocals, enchanting female operatic ones, and Michael’s expressive unique vocals, who sound grimmer and less “clean” than before; there are actually a few (just a few though) screams, reminding the old days!! This time the plot is most dramatic and it’s main theme is vengeance. All lyrics are in German and it’s based on a story conceived by Haas, about a creature Homunculus, who was trapped in his own body and now wants to take revenge on his creators that tortured him for years. Everything takes place in a small monochrome box, so the band could concentrate mainly on the characters and their feelings. As the story unfolds the music change, following the emotions of the main “heroes”. This concept demanded from the band to remove most comic elements, so dominant in their previous albums. I liked this album more than their last works and especially the longer and more melodic songs. The narrations work in order to build the atmosphere, but after a few spins, I was looking forward for the next song (this happens always for me, not only in this album). My favorite songs are “Es ist Leidenschaft” and “Neigung zum Nichts”, with their amazing melodies and “Maß für Maß” the first metal song of the band after years!
Angizia’s music was never for the masses. This hasn’t changed at all! “Kokon” is a very weird and special album that their fans will most definitely welcome. Their turn to a darker and more melancholic sound (and more metal in some parts), might draw the attention of more listeners. It is released in a beautiful black & white digipak and you can visit their site to buy it. You can also check their pages on myspace and Facebook for some samples of their music. Overall, Angizia continue to create original music, following only their personal style and this is something really commendable.
Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos