Annulment are a New York based hardcore punk act that deliver energy in spades. One can expect heavy riffs and clean but shouted vocals from beginning to end. Hatebreed seems to be an obvious influence, as Annulment take many of their classic elements to create hardcore music with a slight metalcore tinge. At their best, Hatebreed were an essential act for angst of a culture that has been kept down by the government for far too long. Annulment is not quite there yet, but there is a lot of potential on this record.
Celestial Mother of the Handless Path is a fairly straightforward album for the first six tracks. The buzzing guitars, low mixed vocal performances, and sped-up drums create a decent enough amount of energy. The themes seem to be more religion based, with tracks that speak toward the story of Adam & Eve as well as World War 2. The last track of the album is where the band throws a real change-up. “All the While, Pan Accounted For Every Stray Bone” ends up being a creepy noise track with limited live instrumentation. A creepy voice sells a world that can only exist in your head, while stating God’s existence cannot be anything more than a figment of one’s own imagination. The off-kilter radio recording that ends the track is quite effective, making it feel like the walls are closing in on the listener.
The main issues with the record as a whole are mostly based in the hardcore tracks themselves. Without having any sound traits that separate Annulment from other hardcore bands, the main tracks can be a bit underwhelming. None of the songs here are bad on any level, but none blew me away either. Also, the production was a bit too fuzzy as well. The cutting guitars work enough to keep up the blistering pace set early and often while the drums keep up incredibly well. However, the vocal mixing is a little rough and cliche for the genre.
Annulment put forth a solid effort on Celestial Mother of the Handless Path. Aggression and anger are the keys to delivering a solid hardcore album, and they have no issues following through on that front. There a a few hitches with song structure and vocal mixing but a good noise track with some bizarre lyricism can easily make up for it. Annulemt have a great frame to build off of in future projects, especially if the anger can continue to stay the same.
1. Patron Saints of the Ivory Nothings
2. …And He Has Left Us with an Aching Vastness
3. Said the Cardinal to the Apostate
4. By the Thrust End of Longinus
5. Metzger Puppet Profanation
6. Lillith of Fair Soil, Daughter of the Endless Arc
7. All the While, Pan Accounted for Every Stray Bone