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Antaeus - De Principii Evangelikum - 99%

filthgrinding_scum, November 1st, 2012

Antaeus, a French black outfit hailing from just outside Paris have been knocking around for a fair amount of years now, however it wasn't until current lead singer MKM and Set united their ideas that they managed to perfect Antaeus as a beast; harsh, catastrophic in its sound and sickeningly visceral. A band that are constantly in a state of flux due to the constant disagreement between members to paraphrase a quote from MKM 'We hate each other, we can only come together once in a while to make music, normally, we can't stand each other', a band whose mantra has been 'I hope you die' for many years, you would hope for pure sickness, I can assure you, it is nothing but.

Their first outing 'Cut Your Flesh and Worship Satan' whilst very good was little more than a starting step in the journey this band would take. Normally an album title such as this sounds trite and contrived, until you press play and are assaulted with audial spite that you could never imagine.

De Principii Evangelikum is their sophomore release and possibly my favourite of their releases (although Blood Libels their 2006 follow-up is a close contender), this album saw them refine their ideals, sharpen their skills and hone their brand of insanity. To characterise this album in one word I would most likely pick 'harsh'. In my mind there is little more that characterises this album than supreme harshness, unbridled in its hateful ferocity it is the true epitome of all the malcontent that black metal wishes to embody.

Antaeus call their music 'Satanik Audio Violence' and it is obvious to see why, from the start of the drums at the intro, you can feel the menace building as it rips into Introvenal Call, the guitars, bass and drums hit you in such an overwhelming barrage it can be hard to listen to, like or enjoy; this is not music to relax to, it is pure sonic violence. Now I know lots of people use this kind of expression, 'it sounds like the legions of hell marching forward' 'it's the soundtrack to the apocalypse', blah, blah, fucking blah - Antaeus lays waste, there is little catchy about it, it is militant, it is fast and it is above all aggressive. The guitars constantly shift between barrages of chords, there are no 'nice' chord progressions, the bass follows suit of the guitars and the drums are a law unto themselves. The drumming on Antaeus records is naught like anything you've heard before, instead of keeping the beat the drummer plays riffs on the drums, extremely quick beats accentuated by fills then repeat, it gives the music this awesome unstoppable feeling, it leaves you no time to fall into place, it is merciless. To top off this fiendish show, we have, in my estimation, the best vocalist black metal has to offer MKM, he has such an intense depth, resonance and versatility to his voice that few people can match (he also does vocals for Aosoth), he has a vast range in his growls and is able to utilise his voice to its full extent all the time. People may draw comparisons between MKM and Arioch/Mortuus from Funeral Mist & Marduk and I would say that vocally he is the closest competitor for MKM but the unadulterated filth and disgust that MKM can espouse makes Arioch's vocals pale in comparison.

As with many French bands, in particular bands signed to Norma Evangelium Diaboli (a label that MKM helped start) the band are very strong ideologically and aesthetically, as can be witnessed by the intense and cryptic lyrics; referencing amongst different ideals, architecture, heroin abuse, Satanism and violence, coupled with the imagery that the band use throughout the booklet and on the cover (a church) with its dark red muted palette.

Quite frankly Antaeus don't care if you like their music, it's made to disgust and is filled with such venom that bands in the bestial scene can only so much as wish they had, this band has more credibility and veracity in their lyrics than nearly any black metal bands have, and ironically in some ways they are not even that black metal, the sound for album is very warm with leanings towards death metal but the feeling it evokes is undeniably black, and for that reason and many more it will constantly be on my replay list and one of my highest black metal releases ever. Hopefully they will manage to put out another opus yet.

Whilst painfully short at just under half an hour, it is all you need; each song is perfect, simple and horrible but personal favourites: Wormz on Day VI, Nave X Kathedral & Blood War III. Oh and for added punishment the outro is the same as the intro, so you can let it play nonstop seamlessly until your ears bleed.

(Originally written for