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Solid maelstrom attack on institutional religion - 80%

NausikaDalazBlindaz, January 9th, 2012

Antaeus write quite sophisticated lyrixs that revolve around traditional Christian repression of the self and the release of that self into Satanic embrace and presumably spiritual freedom and purification through self-mutilation. Indeed an earlier album the band released which some rate as Antaeus's best was quite explicit about its aims in its title "Cut Your Flesh and Worship Satan". The album under review is raw and brutal with a strong beefy sound, an emphasis on blast beats and militaristic guitar riffing, and deep vocals that stand out in the mix as opposed to most BM releases in which the singing usually fights to be heard above the maelstrom. The tracks are fast and short with clipped playing and the lyrics are usually straightforward and frank in their apocalyptic vision. Clocking in at just under 30 minutes, the album is best appreciated in its entiretly and the songs could be seen as chapters in the one epic as they pass very quickly in a blur.

The music is best described as a mixture of death metal and black metal: death metal comparisons can be made with respect to the rhythms and the emphasis on riffing at the expense of melody; on the other hand, the black metal influence is obvious in the blizzard-like barrage of strings and the lack of lead guitar melody lines. The overall impression is of a solid maelstrom attack of hate and loathing aimed at institutional religion and its propaganda that enjoins self-abasement, self-loathing, passivity and acceptance of a highly authoritarian hierarchy thirsting for power and influence and unwilling to accept responsibility for the psychological damage it inflicts on vulnerable people. It's interesting how black metal became a forum for debate about religion and philosophy in France and this inquiry might acccount for the fearsome reputation French black metal bands enjoy.

This review is adapted from one originally written for The Sound Projector in September 2005.