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MEMORY DRIVEN (Animus) CD

First off: MEMORY DRIVEN's newest album, 'Animus', is certainly nothing short of brilliant. There is no doubt that guitarist/vocalist Dennis Cornelius is a master at the top of his game. His work with Revelation and Place Of Skulls has been heralded but I cannot help but feel that he still does not get the credit he so rightfully deserves. I hope, therefore, that this will be changed by 'Animus' which is MEMORY DRIVEN's second's full-length for I Hate Records. But it is not only Dennis Cornelius' virtuosity that is on display here, but also the impressive skills of drummer Tim Mansfield, bassist David Newcomb as well as of guitarist Chris Greenway. These four partners are matched to one another and complement each other perfectly. With this album, they've obviously taken a much heavier and darker sound than at the debut 'Relative Obscurity', whereby however the band still draw their musical main inspiration from progressive rock and doom metal.

The resulting effect is exciting and compelling, and superb in it's skill and execution. The music alternates between delicate, soft textures and harmonies to heavy, complex riffs without feeling the least bit forced. And when I say 'heavy riffs' there, I seriously mean heavy. It is difficult to point out the strongest points on the album without citing pretty much every song as my favorite for one reason or another. If you are wanting to get an overview, listen to 'Empty Gesture'. This roars with some of the heaviest guitar riffs of the album and exemplifies everything that makes MEMORY DRIVEN such a noteworthy creative force. But in fact there are more songs on 'Animus' for which that applies. Actually, it would be necessary to write a review about each of the included nine cuts (there is also a fantastic hidden track called 'Twist Of Fate'), because so much happens here. In addition there are so many heartfelt moments and wonderful melodies on this album, it rivals anything Dennis Cornelius has done past and future. Just listen to the last track, 'Unveiled', which shows a totally different side of MEMORY DRIVEN.

Basically speaking, the band has carved out their own niche which is also due to the fact that they are not limiting themselves in terms of musical influences. Yet, as stated earlier, progressive rock and doom metal are the most important elements in their music, but then there's Dennis Cornelius' preference for a band like Alice In Chains that permeates some of the songs. And then of course there are his charismatic and passionate vocals, which I dig since I've heard '...Yet So Far' for the first time in 1995. However, it is not fair to put only one of the band members in the limelight, although I'm bound to say that drummer Tim Mansfield is an absolute monster laying down some killer grooves and playing some pretty mindblowing fills while his hi-hat and cymbal work is not of this world. So, if you haven't heard MEMORY DRIVEN before, well give them a chance and give 'Animus' a listen too. You should not pass on it if you're a fan of heavy progressive music, in which the heart is equally important as the head. This is a perfect album to remind everyone that heavy music can still be fresh and original.

(KK)

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