This particular brand of black metal has come to its own in France recently with Antaeus
being the viler hate-filled one of the two, although admittedly, both are pretty deranged. I see this relatively new breed of black metal as a milestone in black metal's unhallowed history, it pushes the cold, hate filled grimness to a new height, and infuses it with something far more violent.
My first thought upon hearing the opener was holy Hell
! This is Tsjuder
. It has an extremely riff-oriented structure of what some call "Death
Black" and the relentlessly pummeling blast of late '90s Marduk
that persists through the album. This may sound like a mindless blast fest of stupid proportion, but while at times this may be the case, it has moments that make it all worthwhile.
Bearing that in mind, one has to take the good with the bad. The moments where the drums and riffing interlock perfectly and throw the listener into a headbanging frenzy are spaced apart with long, boring sections of mindless blast beating and arduous vocals. As long as I'm on the topic of long boring sections, I'll bring up the nauseatingly bad electronic passages. It seems this band can't go a full song without some stupid electronic sequence, that's supposed to sound entropic and menacing (think early-2000s GorgoRoth). Unlike GorgoRoth, however, these passages incessantly feature some retarded vocal bit that sounds like it's stuck on replay (one of the earlier songs has one that just repeats "kill" over and over). In an attempt to break up the blast fest and add variation, they just make what could be a pretty solid album lose critical momentum and stagnate.
The vocals are something else entirely. The vocalist is a freak. His lows rival those of bands like Infester and Incantation
, and his throaty black metal growls are far gnarlier than average. What he lacks in punctuation, he makes up in grimy vocals of all pitches.
The production here is sludgy for a black metal release. Those wafer-thin treble notes don't resonate so strongly as most second wave stuff. Instead, the guitar is made to produce a far more gravely tone that sounds great against the backdrop of double bass. This tone is perfectly suited to the brand of down tuned, fast shred that this band so abundantly uses.
All in all, this is a pretty precise, staccato piece of black metal mania that, despite its obvious shortcomings and lack of innovation, is still an enjoyable listen and a good outlet for some pent-up anger. Standout tracks have to be the first and the last two, due to the tempo variations and sludgy mid tempo riffs that interact well with the more selectively blasting drumming. This release is all about individual moments. Wading through the stagnant boredom of some parts is rewarded with some very fine, well-placed blackened firepower.