What is it in the water up in the Bay Area that makes kids who should otherwise be playing Nintendo and dreaming of boobs to get off their asses and write music? Both Light This City and Animosity some how got together with other like-minded kids and formed bands will still in their mid-teens, bringing some good music to the plate at the same time. Odd...When I was that young, I would've loved nothing more than to get home from school and manhandle some video games for the afternoon. Regardless, Animosity has been crafting their brand of death-meets-hardcore (don't call it metalcore...it's better than that) sound for years, and the guys in the band have only just entered their 20s. Moving up in the ranks from Tribunal a few years back to Metal Blade's Blackmarket Activities label, Empires is only Animosty's second recording, but the band already sounds like they've got years of experience under their belt.
Combining a Floridian death metal sound with European grind, Animosity is probably more aptly labeled as an act from those genres than hardcore-inspired. Thankfully the band has only taken the finer points of hardcore and incorporated them into the band's bone-crushing, take-no-prisoners attitude: No cut-and-paste breakdowns and no stupid guitar screeches. While virtually no one will be able to understand what the Hell vocalist Leo Miller is saying, his vocal approach is somewhere between Cattle Decapitation and Deicide, but at the same time, this guy's lyrics actually have merit. Thought-provoking themes of religion, overindulgence, rebellion, and self-induced power offer some insight to an otherwise chaotic Animosity sound. If you like your drums fast, your guitars thick and chunky, and still listen to metal that is almost wholly indecipherable, Animosity is right up your alley. In fact, their music will probably bore right into your gut, rather than just "taking it up your alley." Much like a lot of other grind metal, though, many of the songs lack individuality. Not bad if you're into the sound, but if you're looking for a ton of melody, Animosity is probably going to give you nightmares.
Sweet artwork (although it could get a kick in the nuts with more color), a solid, heavy sound, and a desire to succeed all lead to some high-quality songs on Empires. While Animosity won't be owning the airwaves of MTV (I'm sure they'd rather leave that to Atreyu anyway), this is a solid record filled with grind-influenced death metal. The production could be a little tighter, yielding a richer sound, but hey, not bad for a bunch of kids on their second release!Bob.D