Imagine that you are Frodo Baggins and you are standing before the gates of Mordor, you are over whelmed by their splendor and beauty, but at the same time consumed with the fear they represent. This is the atmosphere Damnum Animus's music creates; dark, beautiful and ominous.
When I listen to this band the first influence that I can pick up on is Summoning. The vocals are almost identical to the reverb soaked harsh whispers of summoning and the synth driven melodies are also very similar. Despite the similarities, this band doesn't sound like Avathar, Nazgul or any of the other bands that can only be described as "sounding like Summoning."
The main characteristic that makes this band different from all of the other hoards of "Summoning-esque" style black metal is the lack of guitars. The fact that this band literary has no guitars is going to turn off a LOT of listeners and is going to cause annoying sub-genre debates as to whether or not this band is "dark ambient" or "symphonic black metal" or "ambient." The lack of guitars doesn't seem like a gimmick or a mistake, there is nothing ostentatious or pretentious about it, it's simply an aesthetic choice the artist chose to make. This brings up another point; what is the point of even having guitar in this music? The main melodies are played on synth and the guitar wouldn't do anything except tremolo a couple of cords in the background, causing the band from going to "sounding like Summoning" to "trying to be Summoning."
Another trait this band has that makes it different from all the other bands trying to make a name for themselves with this style, is the shorter song lengths. The average song length on a Summoning album is about 8-10 minutes, whilst Damnum Animus are content on leaving the songs around the 5:30 mark, which prevents the listener from becoming bored of them.
The only weaknesses are the fact that the songs don't have endings, they just sort of stop. I also don't like how the fist song relies too strongly on the same pattern I have heard in over nine thousand different bands. You know what I am talking about: "chord 1, chord 2, chord 3, chord 2." This is a small complaint and is to be expected from a bands first release. All in all this really exceeded my expectations and I look forward to hearing more from this band.
Curt's Review: 85%
Download here http://damnumanimus.bandcamp.com/