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Anubis - 230503 CD (album) cover





4.08 | 175 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
5 stars ANUBIS was founded in 2004 by Robert James Moulding (vocals / percussion / bass) and David Eaton (keyboards / vocals/ guitars) in Sidney, Australia and was intended to be a one album project dedicated to the memory of a friend who was killed the prior year. In fact the title 230503 refers to the dreadful date on which the tragedy occurred. The album is absolutely drenched in symbolism beginning with the very name of the band itself which refers to the famous jackal-headed god associated with mummification and afterlife in ancient Egypt. The album took three years to create and would not see a release until 2009. The result of all this carefully well-crafted effort is almost 70 minutes of music which is a beautiful masterpiece of both emotional and instrumental splendor.

Like most neo-prog albums this too is a concept album which while inspired by the loss of a friend, is more of a fictional tale that handles the concept of a man who falls from a boat in the open sea and ends up washing ashore with amnesia. He finds his way back to his city of origin and has to deal with finding out who he is. The story reminds me of good old fashioned Pink Floyd inspired paranoia as do some of the space rock effects in the extended instrumental workouts.

Although neo-prog is the template for song writing and story-telling, the music expands into many musical territories. This is neo-prog that one can totally ignore the story and still be floored by the sheer amount of ingenious twists and turns on a musical level alone. The parts that are associated with neo-prog such as the swirling synth lines is taken to an extreme here as there are so many complementary synth lines that build on layers upon layers to form this melodic behemoth. Equally compelling are the guitar parts that take a Porcupine Tree approach in chord progressions while adding some extremely beautiful guitar solos and fills when necessary, but so forceful and powerful that they nurture my headbanging side while assuaging my thirst for melody.

I simply find myself getting sucked into 230503 so deeply that I never once become bored throughout its entirety. The constant effort to keep the rhythmic pace diverse with the perfectly aligned spaced out slow parts with the hard rockin' ones really paces itself in tandem with the story that is laid out. The music is far more diverse than most neo-prog releases dare go. There are chimes and bells for percussion, there are swirling helices of synth sounds, upbeat swing rock, sizzling sax solos and of course the opening telephone that sets the stage for the narration to unfold which takes the listener full circle to the end which ends with the same. While the general consensus is that the second album "A Tower Of Silence" is their best album, I will have to go against the grain and go for the debut. For anyone who may consider neo-prog to dabble on the cheesiest AOR side of music and simply a form of "soft prog" then I highly advise you to check out ANUBIS who devastates any such cliché and delivers a brilliant blend of influences with a highly developed sense of creative expression.

siLLy puPPy | 5/5 |


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