Germany is well known for producing heavy metal or death metal bands. You don’t often hear of any post-hardcore acts coming out of the country, however. Well, Annisokay seeks to change this. They bring a unique sound to the post-hardcore scene with their melodic yet driving rhythms that manage to intertwine all the best aspects of metalcore and post-hardcore into a hybrid genre that is based on melodic, soulful singing and earth-shattering screamed vocals.
The Lucid Dream[er] was originally released in October 2012 but the band decided to reissue their debut LP, and this time it was mastered by the legendary Joey Sturgis (The Devil Wears Prada, We Came As Romans, Asking Alexandria). The concept behind the album was to take the concepts of nightmares and lucid dreaming and then apply these metaphors to everyday life. This idea is executed perfectly on the song “Sky” with lyrics that reflect a state of lucid dreaming and experiencing a nightmare.
The Lucid Dream[er] opens with “The Final Round”, which begins with a very eerie piano-based medley that belongs inside a creepy horror film. That sound expounds on the theme of a nightmare by creating a sound that you’d typically associate with a nightmare. This introduction is punctuated by an electronic synth sound and crashing drums that break down into a mixture of metalcore-styled guitars tinged with that dubstep-like electronic sound that is so typical of metalcore. There is a healthy dosage of post-hardcore styled guitar licks and the drums follow the same tempo of acts like Memphis May Fire and We Came As Romans. Dave Grunewald’s unclean vocals sound more like shouting than screaming. He is punctuated by Christoph Wieczorek’s soaring clean vocals.
“Anniversary” embraces a hybrid genre – a collision between the worlds of post-hardcore and metalcore. When Grunewald is shouting into the mic, the instrumentals take on a very metalcore sound with massively distorted and driving guitar riffs. Wieczorek’s clean vocal pieces are backed up by an electronic techno beat at times but is also backed up by melodic yet angsty-sounding guitar riffs which extenuate the melodic nature of his voice.
One of the album’s lead singles is the song “Monstercrazy”. It is an immensely popular song and upon your first listen, you can tell why. It is a post-hardcore song at heart but manages to incorporate hooks you’d hear in a pop-punk song. Their mixture between aggressive rhythm guitar and melodic lead guitar creates a variation in sound as the band shifts from aggressive to melodic depending on the vocal duties. Also, the use of a pre-chorus and a chorus sets you up for a song that will get stuck in your head and also have you moshing on the stop. Wieczorek’s vocals take you soaring into the clouds while Grunewald body-slams you back to earth.
“Who Am I” is a perfectly constructed post-hardcore song that borders just on being openly aggressive yet maintains an air of passive aggression. The guitars angrily chug in the background as Wieczorek pours angst into his voice and spews lyrics like “Who am I to force my destiny / No I am fine, I wait patiently.” This song progresses into “The Believer” which is the polar opposite. Here, Grunewald takes over vocal duties and the song morphs into an angry metalcore rant.
One of the new songs present on The Lucid Dream[er] is “Day to Day Tragedy”. This sees the band unleashing the hardcore in post-hardcore as the guitars snarl in anger with the drums crashing like thunder in the breakdown. This is a song that sees the band’s aggressive nature fully unleashed and then reigned in on the chorus when Wieczorek’s heart-wrenching clean vocals calm your roused soul.
Annisokay has delivered everything that they promised: a brilliant hybrid of metalcore aggression and post-hardcore finesse. The soaring clean vocals and gut-wrenching shouts coupled with the aggressive chugging guitars and techno-styled electronic breakdowns make an album that sticks true to the nature of metalcore and post-hardcore. The band does not attempt to create a sound that is too busy or heavy for the listener to be distracted by. They deliver their message loud and clear and they are a force to be reckoned with.