Progression and technical proficiency have long been an important part of extreme music, but you usually tend to find those elements in death metal bands like Cynic, Atheist, Alchemist, and of course Death. In the thrash metal arena, Anacrusis was the most innovative band in terms of taking the straightforward thrash sound and fusing it with technical virtuosity and musical/vocal experimentalism, creating a complex and engaging variation of thrash metal that set them apart from the rest of the genre’s mainstays.
Released in 1991, Manic Impressions was the band’s third album, and is arguably their most technical work. The intricate riffwork, innovative bass lines, and otherworldly vocals all add up to an utterly unique thrash metal album. I’ll grant that it does come across as cold and clinical, but there is a level of emotion to the album, however bleak it may be. And most importantly, the band never lets their technical prowess get in the way of writing actual songs, like some other over the top technical acts tend to do. I prefer the more moving Screams and Whispers (hence the 4-star rating), but Manic Impressions is still an awe-inspiring technical metal album.
I highly recommend Anacrusis to all thrash and/or progressive metal fans. If you’re into old school bands like Testament, (old) Metallica, Watchtower, Cynic, Atheist, Believer, Alchemist and Death, or even newer bands like Spiral Architect, Mercenary and Nevermore, you should definitely check out Anacrusis. Either of the band’s Metal Blade releases – this album or Screams and Whispers are good places to start.