Genre: avant-garde metal
Norwegian metal is still primarily associated with the notoriety of its black metal scene from the 1990s, whose members were considered everything from misguided hooligans over militant Satanic lunatics to pathetic panda-make-up-wearing freaks. Regardless of what people might think about the Norwegian metal scene, we have to remember that it is first an foremost the breeding ground of massive artistic talent, and that it has spawned numerous interesting projects - black metal or otherwise.
One such project is Khonsu, whose key members - the Grønbech brothers - have been involved in the Norwegian black metal scene (most prominently in Keep of Kalessin). The Khonsu project, however, transcends the black metal genre and their debut is a truly eclectic affair, drawing on a host of inspirations from inside and outside of the metal universe. It is so eclectic that it is well nigh impossible, I think, to pinpoint an anchor subgenre. There are elements from black metal to be sure, such as blast beats and tense dissonant chords, but these appear side by side with elements from other genres. The opening track, for instance, is a solid triple metered midtempo thrasher, enriched with prominent electronica elements, and the heavier 'The Host' has some almost gothic metal qualities. 'Inhuman States' is a fierce onslaught of black metal, grindcore and death metal elements, which nonetheless features a melodic and heavy gothically oriented bridge. Moving more in the direction of non-extreme metal, 'So Cold' combines hard rock and alternative rock with some "Roots"-era Sepultura-esque grooves, and 'The Malady' is an atmospheric electro-rock affair.
An interesting musical journey indeed, "Anomaly" is primarily avant-garde in its eclecticism and combination of extreme metal with post rock, electronica and alternative rock. In terms of the vocals, the listener is thus treated to growls, droning chanting, and clean melodic singing. The overall performance is incredibly tight and every note and strike is delivered with clockwork precision.
Fans of dark metal which transcends genres and combines impressions should definitely give Khonsu's debut a listen.