One-man black metal project Annihilus’ debut LP Ghanima takes its title from Frank Herbert’s Dune, and means “Spoils of War,” in the language of the native desert-dwellers - or Fremen - in the desert planet Arrakis. Helmed by Chicago multi-instrumentalist, and major comics head, Luca Cimarusti (Luggage, Basic Cable, Heavy Times), Annihilus is rooted in the speculative, taking its lyrics as interpretations of series like Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman and the previously-mentioned Dune.
Ghanima is clearly a black metal record, but it also draws from noise rock, sludge, shoegaze, and instrumental synth music traditions. Mosh pit-ready burners like “Matthew” aren’t too far from Cherubs or the higher-octane releases on Amphetamine Reptile, though Cimarusti’s visceral growl makes it clear what extreme music subgenre we’re in. “W.T.W.B.” maintains a similar driving pace, bowling over the listener, before it descends into lumbering bruiser territory - not unlike X-men’s Juggernaut himself! Others like “Doctor Of Beasts” forego black metal completely, instead turning to a melodic, melancholy synth and spoken word.
It’s obvious that Cimarusti’s many-band pedigree is a major assistance to Annihilus, as the songs vary substantially, making for stronger narrative, pacing, and allure. If these tracks are the spoils of an arduous war, it seems the reward may have been worth the pain.