Genre: Death Metal/Crust | Label: Neanderthal Stench/Choking Hazard
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada | Listen: Bandcamp
Constantly evolving and pushing their sounds, AHNA from Vancouver are a band that have been reinventing themselves several times throughout their existence. Over the last few years, their sound has been leaning towards the death metal spectrum, with crust punk undertones seeping their way through the band’s performances. Last year, AHNA released three incredible splits that each proved to be a crushing slab of music. This year, the band returns with a mini-LP that manages to reach sinister sounds beyond the aforementioned splits.
Right away, AHNA declares musical warfare with a nice tremolo Bolt Thrower-esque riff. Much like the sound of bomber jets overhead, it can only imply imminent destruction, and the drums come in like the blast of a bomb. The thrashing pace continues, revealing great riff development therein. The drums have a clear punk foundation to them, and keep a furious momentum to drive the riffs. Following the blitzkrieg speedy riffs, the song breaks down into slow, eerie territory, creating a distinct balance within the song.
These elements are present throughout the mLP, especially the concept of balance. Not only do we get the balance of tempos, but there’s a distinct balance of overall mood. The death metal parts are frantic and pumping with adrenaline. The slow parts are sinister and pulsing. Furthermore, the usage of dual vocals creates another dynamic in AHNA’s music. Both the drummer and guitarist have distinct voices, one being a punkier shout, the other being a morbid death metal roar.
In addition to the unique contrast in vocal styles, AHNA utilizes another stand out technique throughout the album with the usage of lead guitars. In essence, they are often times not really “leads,” but rather a texture that creates an eerie atmosphere that is often unparalleled with bands that play crusty death metal. There are a couple traditional solos here and there, but mostly the lead guitar lets the riffs do the talking.
“Perpetual Warfare” benefits greatly from its on point production. Jesse Gander of RainCity Studios always does a great job with heavy music for bands in Vancouver and beyond, and AHNA’s sound has never been better. The band included a “demo” track from their upcoming full length as a bonus track on the vinyl version of this release, and it really makes it apparent how great the production is on the five tracks from the EP’s recording session.
Death metal fans, especially those who enjoy Autopsy and Bolt Thrower, will get much enjoyment from this release. Fans of Axegrinder, Sacrilege, and other metallic crust will also appreciate what AHNA is doing. Personally, this is my favourite EP from 2015, and I can’t get enough of what this band has been doing the past couple years. If this mLP is any indication, and as evident with the bonus demo track, AHNA’s upcoming LP is going to do some damage. That is, if there’s any survivors left from the onslaught of “Perpetual Warfare.”