[When I add labels to the Metal Labels On Bandcamp page I usually scan their releases looking for anything interesting I might have missed. The reviews on The Metal Archives are a great help when doing this: a couple of great reviews means an album I should probably check out. With this series I'd like to share some of my finds, accompanied by a paragraph from the review that made my ears stand up and take notice.By the reviewers from The Metal Archives.
[When I add labels to the Metal Labels On Bandcamp page I usually scan their releases looking for anything interesting I might have missed. The reviews on The Metal Archives are a great help when doing this: a couple of great reviews means an album I should probably check out. With this series I'd like to share some of my finds, accompanied by a paragraph from the review that made my ears stand up and take notice. In this edition we're in France and Germany, and the tempo starts up super fast and ends really, really slow.]
If death metal is everything that makes metal good not only exemplified, but taken to its logical extreme, then black metal is the pushback against that idea. It's someone saying "No, that's trendy." And thus the solution was to make something that's the opposite of death metal while still being extreme. Replace heavy riffs with screechy tremolo picked ones, replace amazing complex song structures with "hypnotic" repetition, replace massive, gruesome production styles with thin, wispy ones, replace brutality with "atmosphere," and you have (stereotypical) black metal. More or less. But Antaeus takes the genre into a direction I actually strongly approve of. This album retains a lot of the characteristics that I just complained about, but makes up for it in an amazing way by being rightly pissed off sounding (read Raxz's full review here).
Where to start? A brutal and massive sound. A harsh black metal/sludge alike voice, cleverly used here and there to spread the few words of life’s misery and hope. Intelligent and highly effective song structures, many mid tempo parts being perfect to simply bang your brain out, breaks used cleverly to slow down and to lead to those parts of extreme melody and, yes tragedy! Its unbelievable to listen to this ability to pour both brutality and remarkable melody into one song. Take for instance "Spirit Disease" or their masterpiece "Fall for Your Creation": downtempo brutality – break – short semi acoustic intermezzo – wall of massive low tuned melody. Goosebumps! Listen to "Fall for Your Creation" and you know what I mean. One shivering melodic riff follows the other, all performed using this crushing brutal guitar sound and the "dry" drum sound in slow tempo (read ochsenschaedel's full review here).
The album is very straight to the point, with "Pyre Without Flames" washing over you in a wave of powerful, majestic funeral doom, the distorted guitars sounding absolutely massive. The vocals are somewhat buried in the mix, however their power is still easily apparent, as The Goat triumphantly bellows, "The free mind is a torch, this land is a pyre!" Criticisms of modern civilization follow, and it is the driving theme throughout the album. After that stellar opening, the album travels through many styles while still retaining a similar mood, although the funeral doom tracks grow more hateful with each passing one. Instrumental passages are placed throughout the album, including the particularly odd, yet endearing track entitled "The Fall of Everything" (read Apatheria's full review here).