Chicago band Anatomy of Habit explore dark moods on Black Openings

UPDATE as of Sat 2/11/2023, 5:00 PM: Anatomy of Habit had to drop off the bill for tonight’s Cobra Lounge show due to illness, but will reschedule sometime in the future. Kill Scenes and Twice Dark will still be performing. Refunds are available at point of purchase.

Chicago band Anatomy of Habit have been around in various forms since 2008, sporadically releasing music that hammers together metal, industrial, postrock, avant-garde composition, and more. Originally a sort of floating supergroup with no fixed lineup, in the past few years they’ve solidified into a steady quintet around founder and front man Mark Solotroff. The band’s new fourth full-length, Black Openings (due February 24), recorded with Sanford Parker, features the same lineup as its predecessor, 2021’s Even If It Takes a Lifetime: guitarist Alex Latus, drummer Skyler Rowe, percussionist Isidro Reyes, and bassist and lap-steel player Sam Wagster. 

The moody 18-minute title track starts the record with a slinky, rolling pulse. Rowe’s drums and Reyes’s percussion drive a buildup that sets the stage for the first appearance of Solotroff’s vocals. From there, it’s a long, lovely journey that you can settle into, trusting that you’ll be alternately unsettled, soothed, creeped out, pummeled, and exalted, but never bored. In its harrowing climax, Solotroff screams, ”Remaining faceless / Slipping into a persona,” against militant percussion that sounds as if it’s beating his voice into a pulp.

The second and third tracks are both more than nine minutes long, allowing the band space to explore the full potential of each composition. “Formal Consequences” provides a bit of respite with its dreamy, gothic feel and slightly askew atmosphere of ominous melancholy. Sheets of shimmering guitars appear like torrential rains, giving way to a quiet interlude and a sinister sense of ritual catharsis. The bitter, biting “Breathing Through Bones,” the first song released from the album, evokes the loss and grief of a doomed romance, ending with a heavy slam of sound that’s drawn out to a clanging quiet. This show is a release party for Black Openings, and it features opening sets from dreamy local darkwave outfit Kill Scenes and Indiana goth project Twice Dark.

Anatomy of Habit Kill Scenes and Twice Dark open. Sat 2/11, 7 PM, Cobra Lounge, 235 N. Ashland, $12.36, 17+

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