Anacrusis emerged from St. Louis, Missouri back in 1986. They merged thrash metal with progressive metal though their earlier material was more thrash. By the time the band released their fourth and final album “Screams and Whispers” in 1993, they had pushed themselves into a much more progressive sound. It seemed like they could join contemporaries like Fates Warning, Dream Theater and Queensryche in the prog metal big leagues but it didn’t happen.
Anacrusis disbanded shortly after that album was released and apart from a few reunions here and there, they have never made a true comeback. They were signed to Metal Blade and now the label is re-issuing all four albums with some bonus tracks PLUS each are getting released on colored vinyl. For me, “Screams and Whispers” is definitely the cream of the crop. It is a very mature and complex album that showed Anacrusis were on an upward trajectory.
That said, “Manic Impressions” has a lot to offer as well. It definitely has some progressive parts but it has one foot firmly in the thrash metal genre. While these re-issues have been remastered, the two older albums definitely sound dated. “Reason” sounds more like 1985 than 1990 while “Suffering Hour” actually sounds a bit better for whatever reason.
The band started out more like Atheist meets Slayer before migrating to a Voivod meets Fates sound. Vocalist/guitarist Kenn Nardi is better at screaming and shrieking than singing for the most part. He was never the same type of vocalist that the big 3 prog metal bands had. There were no big notes or melody lines. Still, his voice did fit the music for the most part. I do think he’s an acquired taste.
The bottom line is you should at least check out “Screams and Whispers” if you love the late 80s/early 90s scene. From there, work your way back carefully. If you aren’t into the thrashier side of prog metal, Anacrusis might not be for you. I still wonder what might have been had the band lived on. I guess we will have to just wonder. “Reason” and “Suffering Hour” will be re-issued on September 27th while “Manic Impressions” and “Screams and Whispers” come out on November 15th.